Life Changes to Expect After Oral Cancer Diagnosis
To determine if you have oral cancer, your doctor or dentist will usually perform a physical exam to inspect any areas of irritation such as sores or white patches. If they suspect something is abnormal, they may conduct a biopsy where they take a small sample of the area for testing.
Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away. Oral cancer includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat. It can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
When it is caught early, oral cancer is much easier for doctors to treat. Yet most people get a diagnosis when their condition is too advanced to treat effectively. If you see your dentist or doctor regularly and learn how to spot suspicious changes. You’ll have a much better shot at an early diagnosis.
Expected Symptoms of Oral Cancer Diagnosis
- Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, cheek, or other areas inside the mouth.
- Velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth.
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.
- Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck.
- Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks.
- A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice.
- A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together.
- Dramatic weight loss.
Risk Factors for Development of Oral Cancer
Smoking: Cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers. Smokeless tobacco use. Users of dip, snuff or chewing tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips.
Excessive Consumption of Alcohol: Oral cancers are about six times more common in drinkers than in nondrinkers. Using alcohol and tobacco together increases your chances even more.
Family History of Oral Cancer
Age: Oral cancers can take years to grow. Most people find they have it after age 55. But more younger men are getting cancers linked to HPV.
Gender: Men are at least twice as likely as women to get oral cancer. It could be because men drink and smoke more than women do.
Poor Diet. Studies have found a link between oral cancer and not eating enough vegetables and fruits.
It is important to note that over 25% of all oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and who only drink alcohol occasionally.
Some Life Changes to Expect After Oral Cancer Diagnosis
If you have cancer in the mouth, it can change your life. How it affects your day-to-day routine will depend on the size and location of your cancer and how advanced it is. But no matter the type, you can find help and ways to deal with the changes.
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information check our services or visit DDH-Divine Dental Home at 8B Fabac Close, Off Ligali Ayorinde St, Victoria Island, Lagos, NIgeria