MOUTH CANCERS CAN BE DIAGNOSED EARLY WITH AN EXAMINATION BY A DENTIST. The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance declared April 20-26, 2014, as the “Oral Cancers Awareness Week”. Mouth cancers rank the 11th in terms of prevalence around the world. Every 4 out of 5 persons diagnosed with oral cancer can live at least 5 years if their cancer is diagnosed early. If the mouth-based cancer is diagnosed in the late stages after it spreads to the surrounding tissues, this will mean that only every 1 person out of 5 will live longer than 5 years. As can be seen from these rates, early diagnosis saves lives.
As Dentram clinics, we will consider the month “April” each year as the month of “Oral Cancer Awareness, Briefing and Diagnosis”. You can minimize the risk with an intraoral examination, radiographic examination and special advanced imaging to be consciously performed by your dentist.
To summarize the reasons of mouth cancers in a general way;
– They are more frequently seen in men than in women
– The risk increases in 40 years of age and above
– Alcohol consumption and smoking
– Head neck cancer in family members
– Poor oral hygiene
– Numerous lacking teeth
– Heavy exposure to sunlight
– The HPV virus
- It was determined in the study by Gellrich that “Dentists” are the most important stop in the diagnosis of oral cancer. Forty percent of patients are diagnosed by dentists while family physicians contributed to the diagnosis of 27%. The same study found that it takes about 5 months from the appearance of symptoms to the diagnosis by a dentist in those patients which are diagnosed with oral cancer. This delay depends on the following factors;
- Patients getting accustomed to wounds and swellings in their mouth,
- Patients thinking that their wound will disappear in the course of time, and
- Poor evaluation of the symptoms by dentists who are consulted with.
Oral cancers are often observed in the floor of mouth and tongue. Lip cancers are the ones which are the most easily diagnosed. Consult your dentist as soon as possible if you encounter one or a few of the following indications in a mouth examination!!
The most frequently seen symptoms;
– Small white areas with irregular sidelines (leucoplakia)
– Red areas (erythroplakia)
– Red and white areas (erythroleukoplakia)
– Easily bleeding and non-healing wounds
– Swelling and tissue thickening
– Continuously sore throat
– Foul breath
– Difficulty in swallowing and speaking
– Swelling or a growing mass at the neck
HOW TO PERFORM A “PERSONAL EXAMINATION” FOR PROTECTION AGAINST MOUTH CANCER?
Your mouth is where the first and the earliest symptoms are observed when your general health deteriorates. Cancer is the disease of our age and, unfortunately, it can often advance without showing any symptoms. When an oral cancer is diagnosed early, probability of survival increases by 50%. Self-examination is costless and easy. Please review the following examination list monthly. Stand before a big mirror and ensure that your surrounding area is well illuminated.
- Take out your removable dentures
- Check the internal surface of your lips and your gingiva
- Check your palate by leaning your head backwards
- Feel your gingiva at the backside of your mouth and the internal surface of your cheeks
- Stick out your tongue and examine all its surfaces
- Manually check any swelling on the bottom part of your lower jaw or in your neck (your lymph nodes)