Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer develops in any parts that make up the mouth. Cancer, in the body or mouth, is the uncontrollable growth of cells that cause damage to any surrounding tissue. Oral cancer first appears as a sore or growth that does not go away. Oral cancer can appear on the:
- Floor and roof of the mouth
- The inner lining of the cheeks
Having a weak or compromised immune system can put you at risk for oral cancer. Sexually transmitted viruses such as human papillomavirus (HPV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) are oral cancer risk factors along with heavy alcohol use and tobacco use of any kind including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of oral cancer may include:
- A growth, lump or thickening of the skin or lining of the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Tongue pain
- Jaw pain or stiffness
- A constant sore throat
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
- A sore in or around the mouth that bleeds or doesn’t heal.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your dentist or doctor immediately. They will send you to a specialist who will conduct a series of tests to diagnose your condition.
Oral Cancer Treatment
You may have to undergo several treatment options. This depends upon the stage of cancer and your overall health. Treatment options include:
- Surgery: Removal of tumors or cancer that has spread to the neck and to reconstruct the mouth.
- Radiation: Kills the cancer cells but may cause side effects such as dry mouth, damage to the jaw bone, mouth sores, bleed gums and tooth decay.
- Chemotherapy: Uses chemicals to kill the cancer cells and may be used in conjunction with other targeted drugs or radiation.
You will need to discuss these options with your doctor or dentist.
If you are experiencing any of the oral cancer symptoms or just want a screening, contact us to schedule an appointment. Dr. Mahnke and the team at Bay City Smiles are here to help you with all of your dental needs and concerns.