The word cancer sends a cold shiver down people’s spine, and the more informed you are about it, the better you will be. Some cancers are manageable when caught at an early stage. Oral cancer is one of those cancers that if caught early enough, can be treated.
Often, they are not found until it has already entered its late stages. Most young people think that oral cancer affects mostly people that smoke, which is not entirely true. Learning all you can about oral cancer will help protect you against it.
Though most oral cancer patients are people who smoke, the set of people recently being diagnosed with the condition are young people who do not even smoke. This recent development has to do with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which in the US (with around 20million infected), happens to be the most sexually transmitted diseases.
Most of the over 100 different strains of HPV do not cause severe issues as the body’s defense mechanism is capable of ridding itself of the HPV in about two years. But a particular strain called HPV16 is of utmost concern as it is responsible for several cases of oral cancer and is different from the other strains of HPV. It infuses its DNA into healthy cells and causes them to mutate into malignant cells. HPV16 are also thought to be responsible for cervical cancer.
Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Harmless sores, lumps, and bumps are found in and around your mouth but eventually goes on their own. But when you notice sores or ulcers and red or white patches that have persisted for over two weeks, then you should become concerned and seek professional help.
These small lesions mostly occur on the side of the tongue. As the tongue is directly connected to the lymphatic system and is adequately supplied with blood, cancer can quickly spread from here. Another site in the mouth which it affects is the floor of the mouth.
Cancerous wounds on the lower lips arising from persistent exposure to the sun are common.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Oral Cancer
It is essential for your dentist or health care professional to always screen for oral cancer anytime you go for checkups. During a physical examination, any predisposing signs of oral cancer should be watched out for, and the biopsy of anything or cells that looks suspicious should be carried out. If they return positive for cancer, then the whole malignant tissue should be removed.
Radiation and chemotherapy are essential in getting rid of cancer. Starting to treat the disease early enough will increase your chances of survival.
Oral Cancer Prevention
Making choices such as giving up alcohol and tobacco intake will reduce your chances of getting oral cancer. Avoid overexposure to sunlight and risky sexual behaviors, and consume lots of fruits and vegetables as research has shown that they protect against oral and throat cancer.
Overall consumption of nutritious food will increase immunity. Always go for checkups regularly as detecting oral cancer at its early stage is life-saving.