Oral Cancer

By: J. Shahangian, DDS, MS- San Diego Board Certified Pediatric Dentist

Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is one of the most lethal caners, and it also has one of the lowest survival rates.  Less than half of all the people who are diagnose with oral cancer are ever fully cured.

There are several complications due to cancer treatment.  Some of these complications are chronic and painful such as accelerated tooth decay, sensitive teeth, and dry mouth.

Oral cancer can spread to other tissues in the face and neck, which ultimately can result in pain and deformity.

The most susceptible community are people over the age of 40 (and especially men), however, all people and age groups are at risk.   There are several places in the mouth where oral cancer can occur.  Here is a quick list: the soft palate tissue on the mouth, gums, and the lips. The most common place is the tongue.

Warning Signs
There are several warning signs of early oral cancer that you should look out for in your child.  These include: patchy areas, lumps, breaks, and lesions in the mouth tissues.  Because some of these abnormalities are not painful, it sometimes makes it difficult to make a self-diagnosis.

Warring signs:

  • Lumps or growths in other nearby areas, such as the throat or neck
  • Hoarseness or difficulty swallowing
  • Unusual bleeding or persistent sores in the mouth that won’t heal

Surgery is usually required to remove oral tumors.  Facial tumors can also result in disfigurement.

Prevention
The best way to ward off oral cancer is to take preventive matters.  The greatest risk factors associated with oral cancer are alcohol and tobacco.  Other factors also include overexposure to the sun and consumption of certain foods.  Research has also shown that there are genetic predispositions associated with oral cancer.

One of the most effective defense mechanisms for oral cancer is feeding your child a well balanced diet filled with fruits and vegetables.  Another important factor for preventing oral cancer is keeping good oral hygiene for your child, and scheduling regular checkups.[1]

 

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