What is Oral Cancer?
Cancer happens when the cells in part of your body grow uncontrollably and invade surrounding tissue. These cells usually cause damage to the tissue around them. Oral cancer happens when cancerous cells grow in and around your mouth.
Oral cancer can affect your
- the soft and hard palate
- the floor of your mouth.
Men over the age of 50 have a greater risk of developing oral cancer than women. If you use tobacco, drink too much alcohol, or spend an excessive amount of time in the sun you are also at risk of developing oral cancer.
What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
- lumps and swelling on lips or gums
- white or red patches in the mouth
- sores that won’t go away
- chronic sore throat
- numbness in the mouth
- unexplained bleeding
- dramatic weightloss
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you need to talk to your dentist as soon as possible.
Are All Tumors Cancer?
When people hear the word tumor, they usually associate it with cancer. But, just because you have a tumor does not mean you have cancer. There are two main types of tumors: malignant and benign.
Malignant tumors are cancerous. They are made of cancerous cells and can invade other tissues. Growing quickly, they often spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. And they might return even after they are removed.
Benign tumors, however, are not cancerous. They grow much slower than malignant tumors and do not spread. In many cases, benign tumors don’t cause many problems. But they may be removed if their position is effecting your senses or organ function. Some benign tumors can become cancer, so it is important to have your dentist keep an eye on them.
How Do We Diagnose Oral Cancer?
Early diagnosis is the key to beating oral cancer. If you suspect you have a tumor in your mouth, you need to see a specialist right away.
Your PRECiDENT dental specialist can perform an oral cancer screening. We will look for abnormal tissue in and around your mouth. If we see any suspicious we will perform a biopsy. During the biopsy, the suspicious tissue is removed and inspected.
If the tissue is cancerous, we will make sure it has not spread to other parts of your mouth and throat.
What Are My Treatment Options?
Treatment for oral cancer is similar to treatment for other types of cancer. Your PRECiDENT team will work closely with your oncologist to provide the care you need. Usually, surgery will be performed first. We will remove the cancerous cells and make sure they have not spread to other parts of your mouth.
After surgery, you will go through either radiation or chemotherapy treatments. Radiation and chemo help make sure all of the cancerous cells are dead.
Helping You Heal After Cancer Treatment.
Just because you’ve received treatment for oral cancer doesn’t mean you’ve healed. Treatment for oral cancer can often leave you with both physical and emotional scars. At PRECiDENT, we want to help you heal all the way. Facial reconstruction after cancer treatment is the first step toward getting your life back after cancer. If you have facial damage due to cancer or cancer treatment, we are here to help you heal.