Regular checkup is a good time for the dentists to check your entire mouth and early signs, symptoms could be detected. You could ask the doctor/ dentist for a check for signs should you suspect you are at risk of developing oral cancer.
There are a few symptoms worth considering; these serve just as a guide:
o Patches inside the mouth, lips, which are white in colour or a mixture of red and white or even red.
The white patches referred to medically as leakoplakia are most common. These white patches sometimes have the tendency to become malignant.
o Red patches mixed with white patches referred to as erythroplakia. The erythro signifying the redress like red blood cells are even more likely than develop into malignant lesions than the white patches alone.
o A sore that does not lead over should make one seek medical/ Dentist attention
o Bleeding into the mouth especially spontaneously.
o Loose teeth
o Difficulty in swallowing or pain when swallowing
o In denture (artificial tooth) wearers (loose denture) or difficulty in the fitting of denture or a growth under the denture
o A swelling or lump in the neck
o An earache
Should any of these symptoms occur, a dentist or doctor should be contacted.
AS these above are just symptoms, more often not. The symptoms do not necessarily mean cancer; infections and certain other diseases can cause likers, swellings and the above symptoms.
The visit to the doctor is to rule out and eliminate any likelihood of a serious disease when detected early most cancers can be treated, successfully and where not definitely cured. The quality of life could greatly be improved with early (palliative) treatment.
The above symptoms may be diagnosed to be cancer by a medical personnel or dentist who will examine the mouth taking into consideration, the roof of the mouth, back of the throat, the whole inside of the mouth cheeks and lips, under the tongue looking for tell tale signs of malignancy.
Finally the lymph nodes arranged around the head and neck.
Should the dentist notice an abnormal feature of the oral cavity or lesion a small bit of the tissue/ liker/ growth is removed or sometimes the whole bit is removed. The process of removal of tissue for examination in the laboratory is called a biopsy.
The biopsy removes tissue to look for possibility of the cells removed of normally or abnormality. It can be done under a local anaesthetic agent to reduce the discomfort or pain locally means the anaesthetic agent is placed directly at the point of the excision, removal of tissue.
The biopsy could sometimes be carried out under general anaesthesia in which case, the person is sedated and put to sleep to reduce the discomfort anticipated.
The spe...t who analyses the tissue cells in the laboratory is referred to as a pathologist. Should you need a biopsy the dentists should be able to inform you as to the reason for the biopsy, the amount of tissue he will remove, whether biopsy will be under local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia?, the sequelae of biopsy?, where to get counseling should the result of the biopsy be not favorable, the various treatments available for such cancer.
There are instances where the kind of biopsy may be an aspirate ? removal of fliud should there be a diagnoses of cancer, it is essential that more tests, often laboratory (involving blood) are taken to plan the best treatment and extent of cancer, this is called staging, the earlier the stage of the cancer or the earlier it is detected, the better the prognosis
Staging may require the examination of the throat by a spe...t. This is called endoscopy, which can be direct or indirect. The doctor uses a thin, lighted tube (endoscope) to check the throat windpipe and lungs.
The endoscope can be inserted through the nose or the mouth local anaesthesia to avoid gaggling or discomfort is used sometimes a mild sedative may be incorporated. General anaesthesia may also be used to put the person to sleep.
Radiographs (X-rays) can be used to image and check if the tumors have spread to the mouth ? dental X-rays clest X-rays to check if tumor has spread to the visiera lungs, etc.
There are X-rays machines called (CT Scan) ? computer tomography seans linked to the computer which takes service of very detailed pictures of the body with or without the injection of dye/ contrast media. Should there be tumors in the mouth, throat, reck or clse where in the body. There show up on the CT sean
Additional imaging using a powerful magret linked to the computer ? there is called magnetic resonance imaging. The doctor views the images on the monitor or television screen, there can then be printed on filin for analysis and for the individual to likewise visualise, it is also essential for record purposes.
Treating oral cancer when chagnosed necessitates the active involvement of the patient in the decision making process, it is note worthy to mention that the individual may like to know the treatment options, prognosis and possible management.
The shock and stress of being diagnosed with oral cancer or any cancer for that matter does not make it easier for the full participation of the patient at the initial stages. The necessary myriad of searching questions that needs be asked the health professional may be hard to think of at initial point in time.
An approach of listing questions prior do appointment may be easier to adopt. The necessity to take notes at the dentist appointment could help with the understanding (remembering) what the dentist says. A tape recorder may not be out of place. A family friend/ family member or confident would likewise suffice. Whilst speaking do the doctor ? They may take part in the discussion or take notes or just listen. There may be need to be referred to spe...t to treat oral head and neck cancer.