Oral cancer cases have a commonly high mortality rate, not because it’s difficult to diagnose, but due to people discovering it too late. For this reason, one of the best ways to reduce your risk is to look for the signs so you can get earlier treatment. So, how can you tell if you have oral cancer in New York? Read on to learn the symptoms, causes, and preventive actions you can do to improve your odds!
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is cancer that develops in the gums, throat, tongue, lips, or soft tissues of the mouth. Several ways you can tell oral cancer might be present include:
- Lip/mouth sores that don’t heal
- White or reddish patches inside your mouth
- A growth/lump on the inside of your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Mouth or ear discomfort
- Loose teeth
What Causes Oral Cancer?
Mouth cancers develop when cells on the lips or inside the mouth form mutations in their DNA. Since DNA tells the cells what to do, the mutations instruct them to keep growing and dividing when healthy cells would perish. These unusual cells can form a tumor and begin to spread to the rest of the mouth or other areas of the body.
How Can Oral Cancer Be Prevented?
While it isn’t exactly clear why this mutation happens to the cells in the mouth, there are ways you can reduce your risk of oral cancer.
- Avoid Tobacco Use: Smoking or chewing tobacco is widely known for increasing your risk of mouth cancer. By avoiding these products, you won’t expose your cells to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals.
- Moderate Your Alcohol Consumption: Frequent alcohol use in excessive amounts can irritate the cells in your mouth, causing you to be susceptible to oral cancer. If you do choose to drink alcohol, make sure to limit the amount, especially if you’re 65 years or older.
- Limit Sun Exposure to Your Lips: Solar rays are also known to stir cancer cells in the body. To prevent exposing your lips for too long, make sure to stay in the shade when possible or by wearing broad-brimmed hats to cover your face and mouth. Alongside sunscreen for your body, look to use lip products as well.
- Regularly Visit Your Dentist: One of the most important ways to avoid oral cancer is to detect it before it becomes worse. By seeing your dentist at least twice a year, they can perform an oral cancer screening during your checkup to identify any developing problems.
By knowing how oral cancer shows itself and the ways to reduce your risks, you can stand a better chance of avoiding it in the future! And if you have any concerns about your current situation, your dentist is always happy to help you maintain great oral health.
About the Author
Dr. Ira Newman grew up in Queens where he formed a fascination with professional dentistry. After earning his dental degree from Emory University School of Dentistry, he began his private dental practice to help the surrounding communities achieve amazing smiles. With his team, he provides a collection of high-quality dental treatments, including an oral cancer screening during your checkup. If you want to know more about oral cancer risks, visit his website or call (212) 924-6890.