Mouth Cancer Action Month is held each November to raise awareness about this form of cancer. Those afflicted by mouth cancer can suffer from facial deformity, tooth loss, and even damage to the tongue and throat — which affects one’s ability to eat and speak. This November, The Woodlands Dental Group wants you to know when to seek medical attention.
Oral Cancer Causes & Risk Factors
Tobacco use is considered the main cause of mouth cancer. Those who drink to excess are also at an increased risk of cancer. Patients who smoke or drink frequently should inform their dentist in The Woodlands, as they’re in an at-risk group for developing signs of oral cancer.
While age can be factored into the equation, with those over 40 being more likely to receive a diagnosis, more young people are being afflicted than in previous generations. Mouth cancer is nearly twice as common in men than it is in women, though that certainly doesn’t mean women should ignore potential warning signs.
Oral Cancer Symptoms to Look Out For
Understanding the common symptoms and changes in the mouth that can be early signs of mouth cancer is important, as it empowers a patient to seek immediate medical attention in The Woodlands. Early intervention, as with any type of cancer, increases the success of treatment. Oral cancer can exhibit itself in different parts of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums, and cheeks.
- Red, white, or dark patches inside of the cheek
- Lumps on the roof or floor of the mouth
- Swelling on one side of the face
- Sores or changes in color to the inner lip
- Changes to the tongue, including color or swelling
- Tenderness or swelling of the neck
If you or a loved one has noticed any of the above changes, seek attention from a doctor or your Woodlands dentist immediately. When in doubt, get it checked out!
Oral Cancer Treatment Options
Even at its earliest stage, Stage 0, mouth cancer is often treated by surgery — such as Mohs surgery, surgical stripping, or a resection. Removing the top tissue layers prevents the cancer from spreading deeper. Follow-up is key after this step, as the cancer may come back and require radiation therapy.
Patients diagnosed with oral cavity cancer that’s developed to later stages have surgical options, as well as radiation and chemotherapy. Your medical provider will discuss potential side effects and the prognosis of the treatment.
Your Woodlands Dental Group is here for you. If you’ve developed any troubling signs or symptoms and want a doctor’s opinion — our team of qualified dentists can take a look. Routine checks of the mouth can uncover early signs of mouth cancer and our team in The Woodlands, TX can put you on the path for treatment and make a referral to a specialist when necessary.