The key to treating any cancer is early detection – the earlier you’re able to catch it, the easier it is to treat. However, this isn’t always possible. Many people are unaware of who is even at risk for a condition like oral cancer – let alone know the symptoms associated with the condition. Fortunately, your dentist checks for anything abnormal around your face, mouth, and throat before cleaning your teeth each visit. In many cases, though, patients can go 6 months without seeing their dentist for the next cleaning and checkup. So how can you detect oral cancer before it progresses?
Know The Risk Factors
According to the American Cancer Society, men over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk. However, there are many factors that can increase one’s risk other than gender or age. Genetics certainly play a part in your health; if you have a family history of cancer, your risk for contracting the disease heightens. Additionally, factors such as chewing or smoking tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, and the HPV virus can all contribute to your chances of having oral cancer at some point in your life.
Know What To Look For
While you may not be able to control your genetics, and you certainly can’t control your age – you can control your knowledge about detecting oral cancer. Knowing the symptoms to look for when it comes to this horrific condition, can help you to put an end to it altogether.
If you notice any persistent sores, lumps, speckled patches, or difficulty chewing or swallowing – contact your dentist immediately. Other symptoms that may occur simultaneously are; ear pain, a hoarse voice, sore throat, and bleeding inside the mouth.
If you suspect that you may have oral cancer, do not hesitate to make an appointment with your dentist. Remember, the earlier you catch cancer, the better chance you have of beating it!