Oral Cancer and Early Detection: Helping Our Red Deer Patients Understand Risk Factors
With age, it is natural to worry more about your physical and dental health than you did in previous times.
Often, the slightest signs of anything abnormal may have you surfing the internet to know more about what these symptoms could possibly signify. And to top it all, almost every abnormality that you search for eventually has some linkage to the dreaded ‘C’ word.
Possible Risk Factors
While it is good to be aware of and watch out for any indications that may have linkages to certain serious conditions, many types of cancers today are treatable, especially if detected early. When it comes to oral cancer, some of the risk factors that may make you more susceptible are if you:
- Are over 45 years old
- Have a history of excessive alcohol or tobacco consumption
- Have maintained a poor, nutrition-deficient diet
- Have had extreme sun exposure
- Have at any point suffered from Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV), specifically the sexually transmitted HPV-16
- Are a male (various studies over the years have shown that men are more prone to this disease than women)
Discuss Abnormalities with your Family Dentist
Although oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, it is most commonly found on the sides of the tongue, floor of the mouth, or around the lips. Early signs may be difficult to detect without a proper examination by your dentist. However, if you notice any of these abnormalities, schedule a dental appointment at the earliest opportunity:
- Sores or Lumps: It is fairly common to develop mouth sores such as canker sores due to an injury, consumption of specific foods or a lifestyle issue. Do not panic if you get mouth sores. However, if your sores persist and do not heal in a couple of weeks, then book a dental checkup. Similarly, if you find a lump in your mouth or a change in the texture in your mouth, lips or tongue, you should mention this to your dentist.
- Patches or Pain: Watch out for any speckled, white or dark red patches in your mouth. Any persistent pain in the jaw, teeth or anywhere within your mouth will also need to be evaluated further. While these may not necessarily be signs of oral cancer, there could an underlying tooth or gum disease, such as gingivitis, that requires timely attention and treatment.
- Bleeding, Numbness or Difficulty in Swallowing: If you spot any bleeding or swelling in your mouth that has occurred without any injury or accident, or if you have difficulty in swallowing or chewing, let your dentist know. Check your tongue from time to time to know if there is any numbness or lack of taste. Also mention any changes in your voice or hearing capability when you go for your dental checkup.
Early Detection and Prevention of Oral Cancer through your Red Deer Family Dentists
Oral cancer is often treatable if the disease has been detected early. However, most people tend to overlook dental issues or procrastinate over seeing a dentist, until there is severe pain or discomfort. As a result, every year thousands of people are diagnosed with oral cancer after it has reached an advanced stage, making a full recovery difficult and pushing fatality rates significantly higher.
If you suspect that your symptoms are indicative of a serious disease, or if someone you know has mentioned that you should rule out oral cancer, do not hesitate to get an oral cancer screening through your Red Deer family dentists at Parkland Mall Dental Centre. During the screenings, our dentists and dental hygienists look for signs of cancer, even before any active symptoms emerge. By arresting the disease at an early stage, we aim to help our patients make a strong recovery.
Learn more about the preventive and restorative dental services at Parkland Mall Dental Centre. To schedule an oral cancer screening or book a dental exam, call us at 403-342-1118 or contact us online. New dental patients are always welcome.