Oral cancer is a cancerous growth that normally develops in the mouth. It occurs because of the abnormal and uncontrolled reproduction of cells inside the cheeks, on the tongue, or in the tissues of the throat, gums, and tonsils.
According to research conducted in 2018, every year, almost 49,700 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the United States, which account for 3% of all cases of cancer. The research also found that men are more likely to develop oral cancer compared to women.
What Are Early Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Early signs of oral cancer vary from one patient to another, depending on how far the cancer has progressed. However, it is curable if detected in its initial stages. Look out for any of the below-mentioned symptoms and see a doctor immediately if they persist for more than two weeks:
- Finding it difficult to chew or swallow foods or liquids.
- If you feel a sore/lumpy growth on the lips, throat, inside your cheeks, or in other regions of your mouth.
- If you detect red patches in your mouth.
- If you find it difficult to move your tongue or jaw.
- Persistent ulcers or sores that bleed or do not heal.
When to Seek Medical Advice?
The above-mentioned signs are alarming; however, it’s important to note that they are not definitive symptoms of oral cancer. These signs can also appear because of several infections and allergies, but it’s strongly recommended to see a doctor anyway.
Why Regular Dental Check-Ups Are Important?
Oral cancer doesn’t have any obvious symptoms in its initial stages, making it difficult to detect it. Regular dental check-ups play a major role in early identification of abnormal cell reproduction in the oral cavity, salivary glands, and the throat.
Maintaining oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist are especially important for those who smoke, chew tobacco, or consume alcohol.
Dentists recommend a dental check-up every once a year. Those who have a history of periodontal diseases should get their oral health examined more frequently.
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