Oral cancer is a cancer of the mouth. While cancer of any type is concerning, oral cancer treatments can be highly effective, especially when you catch it early. Learn about common symptoms, the causes and how to reduce your chances of getting this illness.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The mouth and body parts that are directly connected to it, such as your tongue or your throat, are the most likely areas that you get oral cancer symptoms. Here are a few problems that may indicate early signs:
- Parts of your mouth going numb
- Lesions that are red or white
- Lumps in your throat that don't go away
- Pain that is localized in one ear
- Teeth becoming looser for no reason
- A sore throat that doesn't go away
- Overly tender or painful parts of your mouth and lips
- Pain in your tongue
These symptoms aren't exclusive to oral cancer, so don't worry too much if you encounter them. Make an appointment with your doctor if you end up with these signs for more than a week so they can determine what's causing it.
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Causes of Oral Cancer
One of the most common lifestyle choices that are associated with oral cancer is using tobacco. While smokeless tobacco is particularly dangerous when it comes to causing cancer, other forms can also lead to this condition developing.
Sun exposure contributes to certain forms of lip cancer, and it's important to keep a close watch on your skin if you frequently go outside without UV protection. One strain of human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease, can also lead to oral cancer.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer
The first step in reducing your risk is learning more about the signs of oral cancer. Now that you know the early signs of this illness, you can head to the doctor when you have concerns. They can order the tests that you need to go through to determine whether or not you have that condition or something that shares the same symptoms.
Early detection and proactive medical care are critical for discovering cancer when it's easily treatable. The survivability rate is significantly higher during the first stage.
You can also change your lifestyle in a way that reduces prominent causes of oral cancer. Quitting tobacco can improve your risk profile positively, as you cut out one of the leading causes.
Go to your dentist regularly, as they take the closest look at your mouth. If they see anything concerning, they can refer you to a specialist that can determine whether you're having problems related to oral cancer. Plus, it's good dental hygiene!
Whenever you go outside, make sure that all exposed skin is protected. This includes your lips! Look for lip balm or lipstick with SPF, or choose a sunscreen that's also safe to use on your lips. If you see any strange growths appear in your mouth or lips, then make sure that you get it looked at as soon as possible.
Thinking about oral cancer can be scary, but now that you know the signs of oral cancer, you can do something to prevent it from ever happening. These lifestyle changes and proactive medical care will give you the best shot at keeping this illness far away from your mouth.