While oral cancer is not as recognizable or discussed nearly as often as other types of cancer, that doesn’t mean that it’s any less concerning. Oral cancer is a condition that can be just as deadly as other types of cancer. However, it can also be one of the easiest to spot and treat in the earliest stages as long as patients are prudent about visiting the dentist on a regular basis for screenings.
Understanding oral cancer
Oral cancer is a condition that is often caused by lifestyle choices. This means that by making better daily decisions and avoiding certain bad habits, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing oral cancer in the first place. What you put in your body matters, and some of the more common lifestyle factors that can increase the chances of developing cancer includes the use of tobacco products, alcohol, and an improper diet. Patients who are currently smoking, drinking, or eating a diet low in fruits and vegetables (which often contain many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can reduce cancer risks) may be more vulnerable.
Another leading cause of oral cancer development is the presence of HPV, or the human papilloma virus. The risk of contracting HPV is lower when patients have a vaccine, but it only works if the patient currently does not have HPV. The primary age for administering this vaccine is in preteen and adolescent boys and girls.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
Some signs to monitor for include:
- Sores inside of the mouth
- Patches of red or white on the soft tissues
- Pain or numbness in the mouth or throat
- Rough spots on the soft tissues
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
Early detection of oral cancer is key
To prevent oral cancer, or catch it early enough for successful intervention, you need to see your dentist on a regular basis. Dr. Steven E. Holbrook recommends a screening for oral cancer at each dental appointment, including a physical examination and dental cleaning. Contact his Albuquerque, NM area practice today by calling (505) 881-1159 and requesting a consultation visit at 8228 Louisiana Boulevard, NE Suite C.