In 2007 about 34,000 individuals in the US will be diagnosed with oral cancer; 66% in late stages which can result in death. It can be diagnosed in early stages through a simple, painless, five minute examination by a trained medical or dental professional.
Oral Cancer Causes
There are many forms of oral cancer. It can involve the tongue, lips, throat and other parts of the mouth. In all cases, the disease involves an abnormal growth process.
Oral and throat cancer appears to occur as a result of damage to the cells in your mouth and throat. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can damage these tissues. The combination of smoking or chewing tobacco and excessive drinking creates a much higher risk of oral and throat cancer. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light also can cause damage. Damaged cells may malfunction and mutate into cancer cells.
Common symptoms of oral cancer include
Patches inside your mouth or on your lips that are white, red, or a mixture of red and white.
A sore, or lesion, in the mouth that does not heal within two weeks.
A lump or thickening in the cheek.
A sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in the throat.
Difficulty chewing, swallowing, moving the jaw or tongue.
Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth.
Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable.
Because oral cancer can spread quickly, early detection is important. An oral cancer exam can identify early signs of this disease. The exam is quick and painless, and can be done during your regular dental check-up.
Oral CDx is a new way to test for oral cancer. Dentists use a small brush to gather cell samples of a suspicious area. The specimen is sent to a lab for computer analysis. Oral CDx biopsy procedure is simple, and can be done right in the dental office. It results in very little or no pain or bleeding, and requires no topical or local anesthetic.
Doctors utilize imaging procedures such as x-ray, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging scan, and ultrasound, to detect oral or throat cancer, and its stage and spread.
The extent of oral cancer treatment depends on the location, size, type and extent of the tumor and stage of the disease. Doctors also consider age and general health. Treatment may involve surgery, radiation therapy or a combination of chemotherapy, or available anticancer drugs.