April marks Oral Cancer Awareness Month. The Canadian Cancer Society defines oral cancer as a cancer that begins in the cells of the mouth. “It can also spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. The most common place oral cancer spreads to is the lymph nodes in the neck. Oral cancer may also be called oral cavity cancer or mouth cancer.”
At Canyon Dental in Calgary, screening for precancerous and cancerous growths is a standard part of our routine dental check-up procedure.
We recognize that our dental practice has a crucial part in the fight against oral cancer, which is why an oral cancer screening is included with every visit. We are committed to providing our patients with the best tools to protect you against oral cancer. With this in mind, we have compiled the best resources to ensure you can detect oral cancer at its earliest stage.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
The most common symptom of oral cancer is an ulcer or sore in the mouth or on the lip that won’t heal. There are a number of symptoms and signs to be aware of that include, but are not limited to, persistent pain in the mouth, a lump on your lips, mouth or tongue, thick inner cheek lining, bleeding, loose teeth, swollen salivary glands or lymph nodes and even weight loss.
Precancerous conditions, such as leukoplakia, erythroplakia and erythroleukoplakia, form when the cells in the mouth don’t grow or behave normally. These abnormal cells are not cancerous, but can become cancer if they’re not properly treated. If you notice white, red, or a mix of red and white patches on the lips or in the mouth, these are often signs of leukoplakia, erythroplakia and erythroleukoplakia.
Early Detection at Canyon Dental
Statistics from 2017 estimated that 4,700 Canadians would be diagnosed with oral cancer; 3,200 men and 1,450 women. Of the estimated 4,700 Canadians diagnosed, 1,250 were estimated to pass away from oral cancer.
Early detection significantly increases a patient’s chance of survival. We are committed to utilizing advanced technology to help detect abnormalities in the oral tissues as early as possible.
Detecting oral cancer typically begins with a visit to your dentist. Since many of the symptoms are similar to other health conditions, it’s important to run a few tests to either diagnose or rule out oral cancer. If oral cancer is diagnosed, your dentist and doctor will create a individualized treatment plan based on number of factors, including which stage of oral cancer you are diagnosed with.
Protect Yourself With Regular Dentist Check-ups at Canyon Dental
Being proactive and ensuring you have regular oral cancer screenings is a powerful weapon against this life-threatening condition. The risk of developing oral cancer increases with age, particularly after the age of 45.
At home, be sure to check your oral tissues regularly, schedule a dental appointment if you notice anything unusual and book routine check-ups with your dentist. Being proactive and taking the measures to ensure you maintain good oral health is your best line of defence.