Things you should know about Lip & Oral Cancer
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Lip and oral cancer refer to cancers that develop in the lips, mouth, tongue, cheeks, palate, floor of the mouth, throat (pharynx), sinuses, and the salivary glands. Here are some important things to know about lip and oral cancer:
-Tobacco Use: This includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco. Tobacco contains carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) that can lead to mutations in the cells of the mouth and lips.
-Alcohol Consumption: Heavy alcohol consumption can irritate the cells in the mouth, making them more susceptible to cancer. When combined with tobacco, the risk increases significantly. oral cancer specialist near me
-HPV (Human Papillomavirus): While most cases of HPV don’t lead to cancer, some high-risk strains like HPV16 can lead to oral cancer. It’s usually transmitted through intimate contact.
-Sun Exposure: Prolonged sun exposure can lead to lip cancer. The lower lip is more commonly affected due to its greater exposure to sunlight. oral cancer specialist near me
-Diet: A diet low in fruits and vegetables means fewer antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage. This can increase the risk of oral cancer.
Signs and Symptoms:
-Persistent Sore or Ulcer: This can be painless or painful, but it doesn’t heal within a few weeks.
-Red or White Patches: These patches may be flat or slightly raised and can occur anywhere in the mouth.
-Pain or Discomfort: Persistent pain or discomfort, especially during swallowing or chewing, should be evaluated. oral cancer specialist near me
-Difficulty Chewing or Swallowing: This can indicate a tumor’s presence, affecting the normal function of the mouth.
-Swelling or Lumps: These can be felt in the mouth, throat, or neck and may be accompanied by pain or tenderness. oral cancer specialist near me
-Voice or Speech Changes: Depending on the location and size of the tumor, changes in voice or speech may occur.
Early Detection is Crucial:
Oral cancer, if detected early, is highly treatable. Regular dental check-ups can aid in early detection.
Dentists and oral health professionals are often the first to spot signs of oral cancer. oral cancer specialist near me
Diagnosis is typically confirmed through a biopsy, where a small piece of tissue is removed and examined under a microscope.
Staging helps determine the extent and spread of the cancer. It influences the treatment plan.
Stages range from I (initial) to IV (progressive). oral cancer specialist near me
-Surgery: This is often the primary treatment for oral cancer. It involves removing the cancerous tissue. Depending on the stage and location of the cancer, surgery may involve removing a small portion of tissue or more extensive procedures, such as a partial or complete jaw resection.
-Radiation Therapy: High-energy rays are used to kill cancer cells. It can be used alone or in grouping with other treatments. oral cancer specialist near me
-Chemotherapy: Medicines are used to kill cancer cells or break their development. Chemotherapy may be used before or after surgery or in combination with radiation therapy.
-Targeted Therapy: Targets exact particles involved in cancer growth. oral cancer specialist near me
-Immunotherapy: This treatment helps stimulate the body’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
After treatment, patients may require rehabilitation for speech, swallowing, and other functions affected by the cancer and its treatment.
Speech therapists and other rehabilitation specialists play a crucial role in helping patients regain these functions. oral cancer specialist near me
The prognosis depends on various factors including the stage, location, type of cancer, overall health of the patient, and response to treatment.
Early detection and treatment lead to better outcomes. oral cancer specialist near me
Avoiding tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption can significantly reduce the risk.
Protecting the lips from excessive sun exposure, especially in sunny climates, is important. oral cancer specialist near me
Regular follow-up appointments are crucial to monitor for any signs of recurrence or new cancers. These appointments may include physical examinations, imaging tests, and other assessments.
Support and Resources:
Support groups, counseling, and resources are available for both patients and their families. oral cancer specialist near me
Remember, this information is overall and not additional for skilled medical advice. If you have concerns about lip or oral cancer, please consult a healthcare provider.