The Basics of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer in Tumwater, Washington, is a destructive disease that can destroy your health and result in death if it’s left untreated. It’s very important that you keep an eye out for the disease so you can treat it as soon as possible and save your smile.

To help you know the basics of the disease, our Smiles Dental team is happy to give you the answers to the following questions:

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
There are many signs that lead to oral cancer, but the most common symptoms include:

-Swelling or thickness in the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
-Bumps, rough spots, crusts, or eroded areas in the mouth
-Red or white patches on the oral tissues
-Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
-The loss of feeling in any area of the face or mouth
-Pain or tenderness in the face, mouth, or neck
-Persistent sores on the mouth, face, or neck that take longer than two weeks to heal
-A feeling that something is stuck in the back of the throat
-Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
-Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
-Ear pain
-A change in the way your dentures fit together
-Dramatic weight loss

Who can get oral cancer?
Those who use tobacco products, consume excessive amounts of alcohol, have a family history of cancer, have been excessively exposed to the sun, or have HPV are at high risk for oral cancer.

How is oral cancer diagnosed?
Oral cancer is typically diagnosed with an oral cancer screening at the dental office. Your dentist will closely examine your entire oral cavity for signs of the disease. If she finds a symptom, she will require further testing, like a biopsy. The additional test will involve your dentist or doctor removing a section of the sore or patch and examining it in a dental lab for results.

How is oral cancer treated?
The only way oral cancer is treated is with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

If you would like to know how to prevent the disease or if you would like additional details, please feel free to call 360.464.9797 today and talk to your dentist, Dr. Melody Pongmanopap, or a member of our dental team. We are happy to educate you as much as possible so you can prevent and identify oral cancer!