Oral cancers come under the broad category of Head and Neck cancers. It is usually identified as any swelling or lump that persists for a long time. Oral Cancer can occur on any part of the mouth as well as throat.
Any changes that you notice in the soft tissues of your mouth that stay for more than two weeks should not be ignored.
Below mentioned are the warning signs of oral cancer:
Difficulty in swallowing or chewing food
Patches inside the mouth (white or red patches): on skin of cheeks, tongue, palate, etc.
Any breach or ulcer in the mouth that bleeds and is not healing
Hindrance in normal functions: difficulty in tongue movements or inability to perform jaw movements
Sudden weight loss
Pain or lumps inside mouth or throat
Say no to tobacco: There is a direct relation between the use of tobacco and the occurrence of oral cancer. It is evidenced that smoking tobacco, as well as smokeless tobacco, are the causative factors for oral cancer.
Smokeless tobacco that is chewed or snuff tobacco can cause white or grey patches inside the mouth, these patches have the potential to turn into cancer.
No or moderate consumption of alcohol: As seen with tobacco, the longer the consumption of alcohol, the more is the risk of cancer.
Alcohol along with tobacco acts synergistically, i.e., the risk of occurrence of oral cancer increases many folds when alcohol and tobacco are taken in combination.
Regular dental visits: Most of the time, dental practitioners are the first to notice any cancerous growth or precancerous changes in your mouth. Regular dental visit not only ensures good oral health but also makes sure of timely diagnosis of cancer before it’s too late.
Identification of precancerous lesions or changes prevents you from long-term treatment and trauma of disease.
Protection from Sun: Some cancers of the mouth such as lip cancer is directly related to exposure to the sun. People with a history of severe sunburn should take extra care of their lips.
Avoid sun exposure during peak hours and always wear SPF.
Get HPV vaccination: Human Papilloma Virus is known to show a strong association with oral cancer. Mostly seen as a swelling in the neck or back of the mouth that does not go away.
It is usually recommended to get vaccinated before you become sexually active. Although it is recommended from 11 to 26 years of age.
Practicing safe sex is necessary to prevent infection from HPV.