Is Oral Cancer Curable If Caught Early?
When oral cancer is detected, early surgery might help because it has a high chance of curing the condition to ensure it doesn’t recur.
To ensure you are not affected by oral cancer, you should report any changes in your mouth to the dentist in Pocahontas, IA, if the condition doesn’t improve in three weeks.
If you allow oral cancer to progress without treatment, you will likely need surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy for at least four months.
What Exactly Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer, alternatively called mouth cancer, is a tumor that develops in your mouth on the surface of the tongue, the insides of your cheeks, your mouth roof, lips, and gums.
Tumors also develop in the glands producing saliva, the tonsils, and the portion of your throat connecting your mouth to the larynx, although these are not common.
Reasons for Developing Oral Cancer
The risk of developing oral cancer increases if you use tobacco, including smoking or chewing, consume excessive alcohol and have infections with the human papillomavirus responsible for genital warts.
Oral cancer is the sixth most familiar cancer globally, affecting men more than women because of excessive alcohol consumption.
Oral cancer also develops in young adults, and HPV infections are associated with most mouth cancers affecting more youthful adults.
Can Mouth Cancer Be Detected in a Blood Test?
Unfortunately, oral cancer is undetectable by a blood test. If you have symptoms of oral cancer, the Pocahontas dentist will examine you physically and inquire about your symptoms.
Early detection helps boost chances of survival from 50 percent to 90 percent, making it essential for you to report any symptoms to the dentist if they do not subside within three weeks.
If the dentist suspects mouth cancer, they will refer you to a hospital for additional tests or discuss it with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
While blood tests are not appropriate for detecting oral cancer, removing infected tissue to check for cancerous cells, known as a biopsy, helps the detection faster.
Biopsies require incisions that will undoubtedly cause some bleeding. However, the sample collected from your mouth and diagnosed by a pathologist helps detect oral cancer if present in your mouth.
The pathologist examining the sample tissue sends a report to your doctor telling them whether cancer is present and, if so, the type and grade.
How Do You Realize You Might Have Oral Cancer?
You may find it challenging to determine your oral cancer merely by looking at abnormal growths or lesions in your mouth.
However, if you are stringent with your dental hygiene routine and visit the Pocahontas dentist frequently for exams, they also perform oral cancer screenings in Pocahontas, looking for abnormal lesions and growths in your mouth.
The screening doesn’t require much time and is completed in under five minutes.
Dentists detect oral cancer by shining a light in your mouth during the exam to check whether the light makes healthy tissue appear darker and gives the abnormal tissue a whiter color.
Oral cancer screening light accuracy is sufficient for the dentist to provide you a referral to an oncologist for additional tests if they notice a whiter shade in your mouth during the exam.
What Can Be Mistaken for Oral Cancer?
The signs of oral cancer are frequently mistaken for less severe conditions like toothaches or mouth sores. However, even if benign symptoms remain in your mouth, you must report the same to your dentist, who might recommend additional tests to check for oral cancer.
Some of the signs that might be mistaken for oral cancer include mouth sores not healing, mouth pain that doesn’t subside, white or white patches on the gums, tongue, tonsils, or lining of the mouth, challenges chewing and swallowing, changes in your vocal cords, and tooth or jaw pain.
Dentists can detect some cancers or precancerous lesions in your mouth during exams. They receive training to complete a head and neck exam beside the insides of your mouth and all tissues surrounding it.
Dentists do not offer treatments for oral cancer but merely examine your mouth, looking for signs of this condition and refer you to specialists for treatment if they find suspicious growths that don’t heal and need expert advice.
However, the chances of curing oral cancer are higher when the condition is detected early and treated using different techniques described earlier.
Pocahontas Dental Associates performs oral cancer screenings on all patients approaching them for routine exams and cleanings.
If you consume alcohol and tobacco but haven’t received a dental exam recently, kindly arrange a meeting with our practice today to evaluate your mouth and receive oral cancer screenings without delay.