Symptoms of Oral Cancer


There are symptoms and signs in your oral tissue that can indicate a larger problem. Part of your annual checkup is a quick oral cancer screening. The term cancer is never a word that patients want to hear, but if we can catch the symptoms quickly, most patients encounter very doable problems. Our team at Westlake Oral and Plastic Surgery is happy to review areas of concern, as well as use our expertise to spot areas that you may not have noticed, we can answer your questions and help you gain a broader understanding of oral cancer. Working together, we can help you keep a healthier mouth.

The symptoms of oral cancer are caught by a dentist more often than any other medical professional. The screening is fast, painless and often done without the patient being aware of what we are doing. Most of the screening is done through visual inspection, though we may use touch or a probe while inspecting.

During your oral cancer screening, we check the inside soft and hard tissues of your mouth, we also check your lips, neck, nose and facial region. We are looking for a variety of unordinary signs, including the following:

•  Lumps: A hard knot, lump, mass or thickening may be visually seen or sometimes only felt, or none of the above. Patients may express feeling difficulty in swallowing, in chewing, or they may not be aware of it at all. We will look for any lumps both visually and in digital x-rays.
•  Changes in Color: When looking at tissue, we want to see healthy pink coloring, other color variations can be an indication of a problem. Patients who develop whites or red patches will want to have the area examined.
•  Sores that do not Heal: If you have developed a sore, including a canker sore or any other wound, that just does not seem to heal, we will want to take a closer look. Open sore, or wounds which have not healed after many days may be an indication of a larger issue.


What Happens If a Symptom is Found?


If an area of concern is found during your oral cancer screening, we will want further inspection. This can be done through a simple biopsy. We will take a small tissue sample and send it to a dental lab for examination. A majority of these samples are found to be benign, in rare instances it can be found that the patient does require treatment.

An oral cancer treatment plan is created uniquely for each patient. Some patients may have the area treated surgically, some with radiation and some with chemotherapy; it will depend on the specific needs of the patient. We invite patients to seek all advice given by medical professionals before being treated.

High-Risk Oral Cancer Choices


The development of oral cancer can happen to anyone; some people are even genetically at higher risk. Additionally, there are some choices that can place you at higher risk. People who intake harmful carcinogens such as found in tobacco and alcoholic products put themselves at an increased risk of developing oral cancer.

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