Most people don’t give a lot of thought to oral cancer, but this disease strikes approximately 4,000 Canadians every year. Oral cancer is relatively rare but still potentially deadly. Here are some facts you need to know about the disease and how to minimise your risks.
Oral Cancer Can Affect Anyone
Although smokers and other tobacco users are at the highest risk for oral cancer, anyone can get this illness. Even those who have never used tobacco are still susceptible to oral cancer. People of any age, gender, and race can fall victim to oral cancer, so it is important to realise that you are potentially at risk.
Nicole Gibbs, a well-known American tennis player, recently announced her diagnosis of salivary gland cancer, a rare type of oral cancer. Her cancer was discovered by her dentist at a routine check-up. Gibbs is not a smoker and is young. Her case is an example of how oral cancer does not discriminate among its victims.
Oral Cancer is Rare, But It Can Kill
Oral cancer is not talked about as often as other cancer types like breast cancer or melanoma. Still, it can be quite deadly. This is one reason why surveillance is important. Think of it like this: Accidental building collapses are rare, but you would still want your building inspected for stability to prevent a catastrophe.
Oral Cancer Symptoms Often Go Unnoticed by Patients
The symptoms of oral cancer can be discreet. While you may notice a lesion or bleeding in your mouth, it is easy to mistake the signs of oral cancer for a minor problem. It is rare for oral cancer symptoms to be dramatic, and if they are, it usually means the cancer has progressed to a late stage.
Surveillance is Crucial
Oral cancer shares a similarity with many other kinds of cancer in that early detection is vital to survivability. In other words, the sooner treatment of oral cancer begins, the better the outcome is likely to be. So, oral cancer surveillance is crucial.
Fortunately, oral cancer surveillance is also simple. You can get an oral cancer screening every time you visit your dentist. They will check all the tissues in your mouth for any signs of oral cancer. It is also important that you let your dentist know if you have encountered any possible symptoms like bumps, lumps, lesions, bleeding, soreness, etc. Be honest with your dentist about your tobacco use history, and help them to help you prevent oral cancer.