Oral cancer is any cancer that forms around the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of mouth, hard or soft palate.
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
There are a variety of symptoms that could indicate oral cancer, including:
- Changes in texture or thickness to tissues inside the mouth
- White, irregular patches in the mouth or painful ulcerations
- Unexplained bleeding from the mouth
- Unexplained numbness or tenderness in the lips or mouth
- A feeling of something caught in the throat
- Difficulty talking, chewing or speaking
- Hoarseness or chronic sore throat
- Persistent enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
What Causes Oral Cancer?
Those most at risk of developing oral cancer are those who:
- Use chewing tobacco
- Drink alcohol in excess
- Have a family history of cancer
- Have been exposed to sun in excess
- Have HPV
How Is Oral Cancer Prevented and Treated?
In order to diagnose oral cancer, your ENT will feel for lumps or irregular tissue on your face, neck and mouth, keeping an eye out for discoloration or any other of the above symptoms. If a lesion is found, she may order a biopsy to determine if it is malignant or benign.
Oral cancer is treated the same way most cancers are – with surgery to remove the growth, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of the three.
To prevent oral cancer, avoid tobacco products and drink alcohol in moderation. In addition, you should eat a well-balanced diet and limit sun exposure. Perform self-exams at least once a month and see your dentist regularly.
Call Comprehensive ENT at (804) 228-4480 for more information or to schedule an appointment.