What is oral cancer?
Oral or mouth cancer is used to describe a group of cancers that start in the region of the mouth. Most common sites are lips, tongue and floor of the mouth. It can also start in the cheeks, gums, roof of the mouth, tonsils and even salivary glands.
What are the symptoms ?
The following list is taken from Cancel Council
- a lump in your neck
- loose teeth
- swelling or a sore on your lip that won’t heel
- difficult or painful swallowing
- changes in speech
- bleeding or numbness in the mouth
- white or red patches on the mouth, tongue or gums
- unexplained weight loss.
Is it painful?
Mostly not. It can be slow or fast growing, depending on the type. Patients rarely notice any signs, early on. Pain can develop later on, once the cancer spreads. Usually, a dentist is the first person to spot an oral cancer. Patients often don’t notice anything.
What does mouth cancer look like?
Is it serious?
Yes! Cancer of the mouth is just as serious as, other types of cancer. Some types of oral cancers can lead to severe and tragic consequences. If oral cancer spreads to other parts of the body or lymph nodes, the prognosis can be very poor.
How to check if I have mouth cancer?
Oral cancer involves areas which are very hard to examine yourself, like the inside of your cheeks, salivary glands or the roof of your mouth, for example. A GP does not usually check these surfaces during a routine check-up. Corio Central Dental highly recommend that a dentist performs a thorough oral cancer screening for you, at least once a year.
Why do people get oral cancer?
In Australia, more than half of oral cancers are caused by smoking. Around 31% are caused by alcohol consumption. UV radiation is also linked to lip cancers. Genetics do play a role, as well.