Oral cancer is emerging as one of the most common forms of cancer in this modern world. Unlike the popular belief that oral cancer mainly occurs in the people who smoke or chew tobacco; now-a-days it is seen in people of all groups and without any of these habits. So, let's navigate through the crucial information that dentists are recommending for every one of us to know, to take some proactive steps to maintain our oral health.
Understanding the risk factors is paramount in preventing oral cancer. Tobacco usage in the form of cigarettes and chewables increases the risk of oral cancer. Other factors such as increased alcohol consumption, HPV infection, poor oral hygiene, and weakened immune systems also increase the risk of oral cancer.
Early detection is very important in oral cancer treatment. Recognizing symptoms such as persistent mouth sores, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss is crucial. Other symptoms such as abnormal growth of a lump in the mouth, and red or white patches on the throat, gums and lining of the mouth. Regular dental check-ups are vital to detect oral cancers in their early stages. Irrespective of whether you have the habit of smoking or chewing tobacco, it is advisable to get a dental consultation every year.
Dentists are involved in educating patients about oral health and also providing them with different treatment options. Dentists play a crucial role in spotting potential signs of oral cancer early on, thereby increasing the chances of successful treatment. Regular dental check-ups involve thorough examinations that can identify abnormalities in the oral cavity. X-ray, endoscopy, CT scan, barium swallow, biopsy, PET-CT scan, ultrasound; are some of the diagnostic tests performed as a part of regular oral health checkups.
Treatment options for oral cancer vary depending on the stage and type of the disease. Surgical interventions, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are the most commonly available treatment options for patients with oral cancer. The goal of treatment is to remove the cancerous cells, prevent the spread of the disease, and restore oral function. Early diagnosis often allows for less invasive treatments and better outcomes.
Surgery is a primary method for treating oral cancer. It involves the removal of the tumor and, in some cases, adjacent tissues. Reconstruction may be necessary to restore both function and appearance. Surgical approaches are tailored to the specific location and extent of the cancer.
Radiation therapy employs high-energy rays to target and kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Both treatments can be used independently or in combination, depending on the nature of the cancer. They may be administered before or after surgery to increase effectiveness.
Patients undergoing oral cancer treatment may experience a range of emotions. Comprehensive support, including counselling and participation in support groups, is vital for both patients and their families.
Adopting a healthier lifestyle, including tobacco cessation and moderation of alcohol intake, is key to prevention. Regular check ups are very important to analyse the underlying teeth problems. Self-check also helps to analyse any major changes in the oral cavity; if there are any suspicious changes found in the oral cavity, you can reach out to a medical professional for further evaluation and diagnosis.
The team of healthcare professionals at AOI educates the patients about the importance of self-examination and regular dental health checks. They also provide a range of treatment options to the patients from surgery to radiation therapy to chemotherapy, based on the diagnosis and the stage of cancer.