Myths and Facts about Oral Cancer
Cancer of the mouth, also called oral cancer or oral cavity cancer, occurs when the cells in some tissues exceed or multiply more than their normal limits, causing a tumor to form inside the mouth.
It might develop on the lips or gums, on the tongue surface or under the tongue, roof of the mouth (or palate), and the innermost side of the cheeks.
Moreover, cancer tumors can also develop at the oropharynx (back of your mouth), pharynx (back of your nose to the neck), salivary glands, and the tonsils. But, these are rare.
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), estimates that over one-third of all cancer patients experience mouth-related complications or problems.
Symptoms Of Oral Cancer
The first step to understanding symptoms is to discover where they occur. It is not just the surface of the mouth that is affected; oral cancer can also be found on the back of the throat. Some of the possible signs include:
● A white or red patch (on the surface of the mouth or tongue).
● An irritating throat.
● A sensation of a lump or tumor that won't go.
● Painful mouth ulcers that don’t heal within several weeks.
● Change in speech.
● Feeling of numbness.
● Difficulty swallowing and chewing.
● Difficulty moving your tongue or jaw.
● Lymph gland in the neck.
● Ear pain.
● Unexpected weight loss.
● Loss of permanent teeth.
● Continuous bad breath.
Top 5 Myths and Facts about Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is often underestimated and unfortunately associated with many misconceptions. Avoid listening to fictitious stories, it is now time to take responsibility and limit the possibility of developing mouth cancer by knowing facts.
Myth #01: Only Tobacco Users or Smokers Get Oral Cancer
While chewing tobacco, smoking, and nicotine are primary culprits for developing oral cancer, they’re not necessarily the only possible cause.
Fact #01: Everyone can Develop Oral Cancer
Genetic code history, sun exposure, and regular alcohol consumption can all increase the likelihood of developing this condition. Those with no previous history of smoking are also at risk for this disease. Currently, HPV is the leading cause of oral cancer that is nearly affecting over 80% of the US population.
Myth #02: Oral Cancer is rare
One statistic informs of 50,000 oral cancer cases annually in the United States, which is almost 140 cases per day.
Fact #02: 6th Most Common Cancers Worldwide
The World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRFI) reports that oral cancer ranks sixth among all forms of cancer worldwide. Hence, oral cancer is more common than people think.
Myth #03: Detecting Oral Cancer is easy
It takes more time, one simple guess cannot detect whether you have mouth cancer or not. Or, sometimes, cross-checking (or matching) your symptoms may not even work.
Fact #03: Proper Testing is Must
Often, oral cancer forms in complicated places that are hard to notice. Like tonsils, the lining of the mouth, formation of lymph nodes, and under or at the base of the tongue. Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and tests. Early detection and treatment can only increase life expectancy.
Myth #04: Oral Cancer do not Affect Young People
Almost all forms of cancer, including oral cancer, are not linked to any specific age. Even young people can develop oral cancer depending upon their biological makeup.
Fact #04: Link between Oral Cancer & HPV
It is a convincing fact that the risk of developing oral cancer escalates with age factors (especially after age 50). However, a recent study reveals a connecting link between oral cancer and sexually transmitted modes of human papillomavirus (HPV). Thus, many youngsters are developing this disease.
Myth #05: Only High-risk people should get a Screening done
It is well known that cancer disease is heavily reliant on detecting it at the right time. To defeat mouth cancer at early stages, everyone must get a screening done and especially those with family history.
Fact #05: Regular Check-ups is Must for Everyone
Although many people believe that only patients with high risks should undergo screenings, this is not true. When it comes to the actual reality, people carrying no peculiar symptoms and history are at risk of developing mouth cancers.
As wiser ‘precaution is better than cure’ sounds, the better and healthier it results. Therefore, getting your screenings done at the right time is necessary to track your own oral health.
Are Oral Cancers Curable?
Even though the word ‘cancer’ sounds scary to some, the patient has great chances of beating it and recovering successfully. The earlier it gets detected, the sooner it gets treated.
How Can You Lower Your Risk Factors?
● Don't overexpose yourself to the sun.
● Avoid chewing tobacco.
● Limit smoking.
● Fixed and finite alcohol consumption.
● Nourish yourself with fruits and green vegetables.
● Protect yourself from HPV.
● Get regular dental check-ups done.