Oral Cancer: Everything You Need to Know About Cancer of the Mouth
Oral cancer occurs when the cells of the oral cavity undergo abnormal changes and result in the growth of a malignant tumour. As with other cancers, a malignant tumour can grow and spread to other parts of the body. The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that, by the end of 2015, 4,400 Canadians will have been diagnosed with oral cancer while 1,200 will die from it.
These statistics can be reduced if more people are aware of the risk factors for oral cancer, and of the benefits of early detection.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors and How You Can Reduce Them
Oral cancer is about twice as prevalent in men as in women, and is also much more likely to occur to those over the age of 45. Possible behavioural risk factors for the development of oral cancer include: smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, contracting the human papillomavirus, unsafe sun exposure, and low fruit and vegetable intake. Your chances of developing oral cancer can therefore be reduced by refraining from smoking tobacco or from using smokeless tobacco products, limiting your alcohol intake, practicing safe sex, staying out of harsh sunlight, and having a balanced diet which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Signs, Symptoms, and the Benefits of Early Detection
Oral cancer is much more responsive to treatment if detected early. One of the best ways to ensure early detection is to go for regular dental checkups and to see a dentist right away if you suspect that something may be wrong in your oral cavity. Some common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- A lump in the oral cavity
- White and red patches in the mouth or on the lips
- A thick patch of skin on the cheek
- Pain in the mouth or the ear
- A sore or ulcer that doesn't go away
- A swollen jaw
- Numbness experienced on the lips or tongue
- Teeth that have become loose
At the Azarko Dental Group our team of dentists at our Edmonton dental clinics has the experience and expertise necessary to catch signs of oral cancer early. If you've got any questions or concerns about your oral health, then schedule an appointment to speak to a dentist about reducing your risk for oral cancer.