Oral cancer is a blanket term that refers to a range of cancers that affect the mouth. It can include cancer of the lips, gums, cheek, tongue, floor of your mouth, soft or hard palate, throat, or sinuses. In most cases, your dentist or periodontist will be the first person to notice the signs of oral cancer and get you on the road to receiving a diagnosis. In some cases, you may notice symptoms between dental appointments. When this happens, you should visit us as soon as possible so we can determine whether or not you have oral cancer.
ptoms Of Oral Cancer
It can be difficult at times to recognize the signs of oral cancer since it shares symptoms with many other oral conditions, both minor and serious ones. Because of this, you should let Dr. DeAndrade know if you have any of the symptoms linked to oral cancer, particularly if more than one appears at the same time. Watch out for the following signs and symptoms:
- Sores on the mouth or lip which don’t heal
- Loose teeth
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Difficulty or pain swallowing
- Difficulty wearing dentures
- Earache that doesn’t fade
- Lump in the neck
- Significant weight loss without a reason
- Red and/or white patches in the mouth or on the lips
- Numbness of the lower lip, chin, neck, or face
Diagnosing Oral Cancer
As with any other cancer, the diagnosis process for oral cancer begins with a physical examination. Dr. DeAndrade will examine your entire mouth, including the cheeks, tongue, back of the throat, floor, and roof. They will also look at the lymph nodes within your neck. If he notices any tumors or unusual growths, he will do a tissue or brush biopsy. The first of these removes a piece of the growth while the second collects cells via a brush. In either case, the cells are analyzed for cancerous cells.
Depending on the situation, your doctor may suggest you visit an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist. You may also need extra testing to determine if the oral cancer has spread, such as a CT scan, x-ray, endoscopy, MRI, or PET scan.
By keeping up with your regular appointments at Anthem Periodontics and Dental Implants, you will give Dr. DeAndrade the chance to catch any signs of oral cancer early on, increasing your chances of a successful treatment.