Oral cancer is a destructive type of cancer that is typically signaled by the appearance of lesions in the mouth, on the tongue, on lips, inside the cheek, in the gums, in the roof of the mouth, in the tonsils, or in salivary glands. This type of cancer affects around 30,000 Americans every year and can become deadly if not treated early enough. A screening can spot the cancer before it progresses too far, leading to diagnosis and treatment that could literally save your life. Here are some of the risks of untreated oral cancer, risk factors that increase your chance of developing it, and reasons for having a screening done in Norman, Oklahoma.
Oral Cancer Risks
Oral cancer can become deadly. The main complication of oral cancer is dysphagia, which is an inability to swallow normally. The patient is unable to swallow food properly, leading to choking, lung infections, and aspiration pneumonia as food goes down the wrong tube and ends up in the lungs. This can lead to the requirement for a feeding tube. Patients who become afraid of choking may simply stop eating, leading to malnutrition.
Speech problems could also occur due to the limited function of the mouth and throat. Depression, irritability, frustration, and anxiety may develop as well.
There are certain risk factors that increase your chance of developing oral cancer. These include:
- Tobacco use: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff
- Alcohol consumption
- Prolonged sun exposure, especially on the lips
- Poor oral hygiene
- Poor nutrition
- Weakened immune system
- Marijuana use
Why Should I Get Screened for Oral Cancer?
The best way to reduce your chances of painful complications like dysphagia is through early detection. A diagnosis in stage one of oral cancer comes with an 83 percent chance of living more than five years, while a diagnosis in stage four has only a 38 percent chance. This is partly because when oral cancer is detected at an earlier stage, cancerous lesions are easiest to remove. Sometimes additional tests are needed, such as a biopsy or the use of a special dye, but a screening is the first step.
Oral Cancer Screening in Norman, Oklahoma
An oral cancer screening done early enough can save your life. Dr. Spurgeon at Smile Solutions in Norman, Oklahoma, can provide an oral cancer screening. This screening is completed thoroughly and in a friendly manner. Contact Smile Solutions today to make an appointment for your oral cancer screening before it’s too late.