With November being designated as Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, now is the perfect time for our McAllen dentist at Heroes Dental to inform our friends and family about the signs and symptoms of cancers that affect the head, mouth, and neck.
In fact, this is a great month to head to your McAllen dentist and have your yearly cancer screening. Here’s what else you need to know to stay healthy.
The Facts About Mouth Cancer
Oral cancer is a general term used to describe cancers in the mouth, sinuses, throat, and neck. There are many types of cancer that can occur in the head, but squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the most common.
Most mouth cancers have few symptoms during the early stages. Common symptoms are ulcers that don’t heal, changes in texture in the mouth, bleeding, and swellings with no obvious cause.
The exact symptoms will depend on where your cancer is located and its specific type. While regular self-examinations can help catch the disease early, many do not know the signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for.
Most of these cancers grow and spread quickly, so early detection and treatment are essential for your chances of pulling through.
What Causes Mouth Cancers?
The single biggest risk factor for developing oral cancer is tobacco use. Smoking makes you six times more likely to develop mouth or throat cancer. Alcohol is another huge risk factor. Of those affected by mouth cancer, 3 in 4 smoke and consume alcohol.
Another serious threat is the human papillomavirus (HPV), which will likely become the leading cause of mouth cancers in the decades to come.
A poor diet can also contribute to an increased likelihood; up to a third of all cases have been linked to a poor diet.
The exact form of care and treatment you receive will depend on the cancer type and where it is located. Once cancer is found, you will typically need to have any dental procedures you need finished before you start cancer treatment.
After this, you will be treated and told how to care for your mouth as you heal. Early cancer can be treated with surgery, but most cases will involve chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or both. After this, you may see other specialists to help you recover and regain any lost function.
You will also need to see your McAllen dentist frequently for follow-up care.
Don’t Delay, See Your McAllen Dentist Immediately
If you notice any symptoms, you need to see a dentist as soon as possible. Heroes Dental can get you in and check your symptoms out immediately.
Cancer symptoms are terrifying, but we’re here to help you through it. Schedule an appointment today to get checked out.