Less Common Signs of Oral Cancer
While the primary indicators of oral cancer are quite well-known, there are some less obvious signs that everyone should be aware of. Persistent earaches or difficulty swallowing may be indicative of oral cancer. Unexplained weight loss is another less recognized symptom, often overlooked as a general health concern rather than a potential sign of oral cancer. Occasionally, changes in how your teeth or dentures fit together could also point to this disease. Furthermore, numbness or loss of feeling in parts of the mouth can be a symptom. Unexplained hoarseness or changes in the voice may also be a red flag. It’s essential to remember that these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than cancer. However, if you experience any of these for an extended period, seeing a healthcare professional for a thorough examination is crucial.
What are the Risk Factors?
There are some common risk factors associated with oral cancer. The first is tobacco use, whether in the form of smoking, chewing, or snuffing. Excessive alcohol consumption is also a significant risk factor for developing oral cancer. People exposed to the human papillomavirus (HPV) are also at a higher risk of developing this type of cancer. Poor nutrition and neglecting dental hygiene can also contribute to the development of oral cancer.
How is Oral Cancer Detected?
Early detection is critical to ensure the effective treatment of oral cancer. Since this condition often goes unnoticed in its initial stages, it is essential to see your dentist regularly for checkups. We will be able to identify any irregularities in your mouth and refer you to a specialist if necessary. If you experience any pain, swelling, or other symptoms that persist for more than two weeks, you should consult a doctor.
How Are the Treatment Options?
Oral cancer treatment is determined by several factors, including the stage and location of the cancer, the patient’s general health, and personal preferences. Treatment options primarily involve surgery to remove the cancerous cells, followed by radiation therapy to kill any lingering cancerous cells. Chemotherapy, alone or combined with radiation therapy, is another treatment approach to destroy cancer cells. Targeted drug therapy, specifically targeting the abnormalities in cancer cells, is also an option. In some cases, immunotherapy might be used to stimulate your body’s immune system to fight the cancer. It’s important to discuss these options with your healthcare provider to understand their potential side effects and to make an informed decision about your treatment plan.