There are two types of oral cancer, which include cancer in the oral cavity and cancer in the oropharynx. Cancer in the oral cavity can surface on the lips, cheeks, teeth, gums, the roof of the mouth, and the front part of the tongue. Oral cancer in the oropharynx affects the middle of the throat, such as the base of the tongue and the tonsils.
Early detection is a key factor when it comes to oral cancer survival rates. The American Dental Association reported that an estimated 10,030 individuals are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, and the five year survival rate for these individuals is 60 percent. This is why routine dental exams are vital. If you are in the East Los Angeles area and need a dental exam, contact Dr. Abaian and Dr. Hanookai at Gage Dental Care.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
If the following symptoms occur and last more than two weeks, it is vital to schedule an appointment with your dentist:
- Red or white patches in the mouth;
- Soreness that doesn't subside;
- Changes in the way your teeth meet when you close your mouth;
- Problems chewing, speaking, swallowing, or moving your jaw or tongue;
- Numbness or tenderness in the lips or mouth;
- A lump or eroded area in your mouth.
In addition, some individuals feel as if they have something caught in their throat or changes in their voice. If have experienced any of these symptoms and live in the East Los Angeles area, schedule an appointment at Gage Dental Care immediately.
Risk Factors That are Associated with Oral Cancer
Studies have linked certain factors to an increased risk of oral cancer. Males are twice as likely to be diagnosed with oral cancer as opposed to females. In addition, those who smoke or heavily drink alcohol and are older than 50 are also at an increased risk for developing oral cancer.
Those who have the human papilloma virus (HPV) may be at risk for developing oral cancer in the back of the mouth. This type of oral cancer stems from HPV head and neck cancers that are known to develop at the base of the tongue and in the throat. The best outcome is when an individual is diagnosed early, which is why it is vital maintain routine dental cleanings and examinations at least every six months.
How a Dentist can Detect Oral Cancer in its Early Stages
During your East Los Angeles dental exam at Gage Dental Care, Dr. Abaian or Dr. Hanookai will inquire about any changes or unusual symptoms in your mouth and throat. In addition, they will also examine your oral cavity, which includes your gums, lips, cheek lining, the roof of the mouth, and the front of the tongue, for any signs of oral cancer. The throat and tonsils will also be examined, and they will look and feel for any lumps or abnormalities in the jaw and neck.
What if They Detect a Symptom of Oral Cancer?
If Dr. Abaian or Dr. Hanookai find something unusual during your exam, it is important to stay calm. When a symptom of oral cancer is detected, they will probably refer you diagnostic testing in East Los Angeles. They may also ask for a follow-up examination a few weeks after your initial exam to determine if any questionable areas are healing. Dr. Abaian and Dr. Hanookai will work with you to establish the best course of action for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
What You can do to Prevent Oral Cancer
You should be aware of your risk factors for developing oral cancer. If you are a heavy smoker and drinker, quitting can significantly cut down on the chances of developing oral cancer. It is also important to schedule routine dental exams at a trusted East Los Angeles dental office, such as Gage Dental Care.