Oral cancer is any cancer that forms around the lips, tongue, cheeks, hard or soft palate, floor of mouth, sinuses or throat. If not treated early, this form of cancer could be life threatening.
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, red or speckled patches in the mouth.
- Unexplained bleeding from the mouth.
- Unexplained numbness or tenderness in the face.
- Persistent sores on the face or neck that bleed easily.
- A feeling of something caught in the throat.
- Difficulty talking, chewing or speaking.
- Hoarseness or chronic sore throat.
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, they may order a biopsy to determine if its makeup 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 Eastern Carolina ENT Head & Neck Surgery at 252-752-5227 for more information or to schedule an appointment.