Oral Cancer Screening • Signs & Symptoms of Mouth Cancer
Oral / Mouth Cancer Symptoms
Many symptoms normally related with other mouth conditions may also be a warning sign of oral cancer. Although these symptoms do not necessarily signify cancer, it is important to seek the advice of a dental professional if noticed.
Early diagnosis is critical for successful mouth cancer treatment.
If you notice any abnormal changes in the mouth tissues, sores, white or red patches, irritation, swelling or bleeding that do not heal within two weeks, you should visit your dentist and ask for an oral cancer screening. Oral Cancer could look like a common ulcer, cold sore or a discoloration of tissue.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The possible early warning signs of mouth cancer include:
Any abnormal changes in the mouth, gums, tongue or surrounding area could be symptoms of mouth cancer and they should be evaluated by a dental professional immediately.
The Importance of Early Detection of Oral Cancer
The death rate in oral cancer cases is one of the highest among all cancer types, because it is usually diagnosed in advanced stages. If a mouth cancer is detected and treated in early stages, before it invades in deeper tissue layers and before it has metastasized to the lymph nodes, the recovery rate is up to 80-90%. Early diagnosis is critical for successful mouth cancer treatment.
What does mouth cancer look like
Early detection can be difficult because oral cancer in early stages resembles with other non life-threatening problems of the mouth. It may appear as a usual sore in the mouth or as a lesion like those caused by biting the cheek or lip. Furthermore the symptoms of mouth cancer are usually painless, so in many cases they are ignored even if they get noticed.
Only your dentist or doctor can evaluate properly any symptoms and tissue changes that could be cancerous. Normally your dentist performs an oral cancer screening during the regular dental check-up visits. Remember that visiting the dentist every 6 months is important for preventing not only dental problems like tooth decay but also mouth cancer. It is important to find oral cancer as early as possible when it can be treated more successfully.
Ask your dentist to show you how to perform a self examination for early mouth cancer signs. Perform a self examination at least once a month, especially if you belong in the high risk groups (tobacco/alcohol users, age >40).
Oral Cancer Screening - Early Diagnosis of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer screening has become an important part of the examinations dentists perform in our mouth during our preventive dental visits. For this reason it is necessary to visit your dentist at least every 6 months even if there is no obvious dental problem.
The following tests may be used for the detection of oral cancer:
If the biopsy results confirm the presence of oral cancer, the patient's doctor needs to know the stage and extent of the disease in order to plan the best treatment. The doctor needs to know the exact location and size of the malignant tissue, and in what extent it has spread in other areas of the mouth or neck.
A number of imaging procedures can provide the necessary information:
However, these examinations are only able to detect the actual presence of masses, but a biopsy is required to verify that a mass is malignant. Detailed diagnosis gives the necessary information for the correct planning of a successful treatment of mouth cancer.
The cost involved with dental treatments can be significant and many patients may not afford it if they are not covered by their dental insurance. Learn how to choose a dental insurance plan that will provide the best dental treatment to yourself and your family.