Dentist in Calgary on Oral Cancer Risk: Early Detection is Imperative
Oral cancer may not be among the top fatal diseases–or even among the top cancers–in Canada, but the statistics on its incidence are significant, nonetheless. The latest figures on the Canadian Cancer Society website show that 4,300 cases were estimated to be diagnosed in 2014, with about 1,150 estimated deaths. About 70% of those estimated to be affected would be men.
As with any other cancer types, the cause for oral cancer is not strictly known. However, its risk factors have been identified, including smoking, drinking alcohol, and heavy consumption of both tobacco and alcohol. Oral sex is also a risk factor, along with exposure to Ultraviolet light. Men are more at risk to the disease than women, and those above 44 years old are more likely to develop the cancer.
The signs of oral cancer include sores in the mouth that don’t go away, bleeding, and white or dark red spots on the lips or tongue. Other symptoms include pain, swelling, or numbness in the mouth; a lump or thickening that may affect the fit of dentures; and difficulty in swallowing, speaking, chewing, or moving the jaw or the tongue.
The good news is, oral cancer may be treated, as long as the condition is detected early enough. You can perform the examination yourself in front of a mirror, and watch out for the known signs, as mentioned above. However, as an amateur, and with limited tools and ability to inspect the entire mouth region, it could be very easy to miss any of the signs, especially during the early stages. The best option would be to see a dentist in Calgary like one at Solara Dental Care, and ask for an oral cancer screening.
During the visit, the dentist will examine the oral area, including the lips, gums, tongue, palate, and throat. He or she will also ask for information about your medical history, as well as your lifestyle. If cancer is suspected, more tests, such as X-rays, ultra sounds, and MRIs may be needed. Oral cancer may be treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or surgery.
You can ask Calgary dentists to examine you for oral cancer as part of your regular check-ups. As with any other cancer types, early detection is very important, while the body can still respond well to treatment. In-between dental visits, it will help to be aware of the signs and symptoms, and to see the dentist immediately if you notice any of these. Moreover, to reduce the risks of developing the disease, adopt a healthier lifestyle. Stop smoking and reduce your consumption of alcohol, limit sun exposure, and have a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables.
Oral Cancer, Canadian Dental Association
Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer, American Dental Association
Oral cavity cancer statistics, Canadian Cancer Society
Oral Cancer, MyHealthAlberta.ca