Research shows that there are approximately 2,500 cases of oral cancer a year in Australia. This version of cancer can be deadly and is thought to kill more people than cervical cancer or malignant melanoma.
Oral cancer is likely to affect your tongue, lips, tonsils, soft palate, salivary glands, and even the back of your throat. In advanced stages of oral cancer, you will experience severe and chronic pain, disfigurement, and a loss of function of various sections of your mouth. Oral cancer has the lowest survival rate of all the major cancers. Survivors often face social isolation as their confidence is shattered and they become reclusive. This places a huge amount of pressure on their loved ones.
The Importance Of Early Detection
The low survival rate is mainly due to the fact that the disease goes undetected for a long period. That means it is already advanced when treatment starts. Conversely, when it is detected early survival rates improve dramatically and there is less likelihood of disfigurement and social isolation.
How To Detect It Early
The best way to detect oral cancer early is to have a regular check-up with your dentist. A dentist, such as this dentist Narre Warren, is trained to spot irregularities in your mouth. They will spot the lesions before you do and can give you an early diagnosis.
This dramatically increases your chances of survival.
However, it should be noted that many people don’t visit a dentist every year. While you should make an effort to do so, it is also imperative that doctors perform regular checks, specifically on those at higher risk.
If you notice any of the following symptoms you should get them checked, don’t wait for your next appointment.
- A lump in your neck
- Teeth becoming loose
- Speech issues
- Bleeding and numbness in your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sores on your lips that don’t heal
- White or red patches in your mouth
Your dentist or doctor will check for you and do a biopsy if necessary, it’s the only way to know for certain if you have oral cancer.
The first thing to note is that regular appointments with your dentist won’t prevent oral cancer but they will help with oral hygiene and early detection.
You can reduce your risk of oral cancer by stopping smoking, this is even more important if you chew tobacco.
Brushing properly and twice a day will also help to prevent infections. As Human Papilloma Virus is one of the main causes of oral cancer keeping infections away is a good idea.
You will also find that exercising regularly boosts your immune system and reduces your risk of all types of cancer.
Alongside this, it is important to consider your diet. Avoiding processed foods and including lots of beans and dark green vegetables will also boost your immune system and reduce the chances of you contracting oral cancer.
You can also self-examine every month. Simply look in your mouth and feel the back and sides of your tongue to ensure there are no strange bumps or anything of concern. If you see or feel anything, get it checked as soon as possible.