Symptoms You May Have Gum Cancer


Gum cancer, a form of oral cancer, has been found to respond well to treatment if caught early. Nearly 90% of patients treated with early forms of gum cancer are successful. Our staff at Westlake Oral and Plastic Surgery can help you learn the symptoms and review any areas of concern at your appointment. Gum cancer does not have to be something to be afraid of if caught early.

Cancer of the gum tissue can be complicated, there is often no physical sign that a patient may notice. The symptoms can be painless, or so small that they are insignificant to the patient. For most patients, it is their dentist who catches the symptoms, making your regular appointments that much more important. During your annual checkup, we will look for changes or abnormalities in your gum tissue. Unusual changes in your soft gum tissue are often of little concern, but for some, it may be a sign of a larger issue. We can help you determine if an area of question could benefit from further exploration.

When reviewing your gum tissue for abnormalities, we look for:

•  Changes in Color: Healthy gum tissue is pink in color, if it is battling an infection it can become red, colors that vary from pink may spark us to take a closer look. If the patient has an infection, we can treat it. Patients who develop white or red blotches will want to have the area examined.
•  A Lump: The development of a lump, or hardness or skin, sometimes referred to thickening of skin, can be the development of a larger issue.
•  A Sore: The patient may have developed a sore, they may think of it as a common canker sore, but it is an ulcerated sore that does not seem to heal or takes considerable time to heal.
•  Unusual Pain or Numbness: The patient may be feeling soreness or unexplained pain. They may feel a spot of numbness or discomfort.

The Development of Gum Cancer


There are various reasons a person may develop a form of gum or oral cancer. Some of these causes you can control, such as the abuse of alcoholic products, tobacco use, or other carcinogens. Other causes that increase the chance of developing oral cancer are out of your control, such as genetic markers that increase the likelihood of development. Whatever the reason, the answer is to have your gum tissue often checked by a professional who knows what to look for. Dentists catch oral cancer symptoms more than any other professional.

Gum Cancer Treatment


When we can found an area that requires a further look, we will order a biopsy. A small sample of tissue is taken and sent to a dental lab for closer examination. If a positive result indicating that gum cancer is present has been made and cancer has been staged, treatment would then begin. Treatment is specific to each patient along with their diagnosis. This may include surgical removal, radiation, chemotherapy or more. We would examine the various routes of treatment and review them with you before creating a treatment plan.

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