Questions about Oral Cancer

Dentist Serving Calgary, Cochrane, Airdrie and Nearby Areas of Alberta

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is a type of cancer that affects your head and neck. This common type of cancer begins in your mouth or oral cavity and is treatable if discovered early. Dr. Gordon Chee can detect the early signs of oral cancer with a routine oral cancer screening. Of the people who are diagnosed with oral cancer, about 90% smoke or chew tobacco. Alcohol consumption is also a risk factor for this particular disease.

What are the different types of oral cancer tumours?

More than 90% of all oral cavity tumours are a type called squamous cell carcinomas. Squamous cells, or mucosa, are what comprises the lining of your oral cavity. The other, less common types of oral cancer are tumours that form in your salivary glands.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

There are various symptoms of oral cancer, such as:

  • The feeling that something is stuck in your throat
  • A change in your voice
  • A sore or lump on your lip, mouth or throat that will not heal
  • Loose or painful teeth
  • Swelling around your jaw
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of your mouth
  • Unusual bleeding, pain, or numbness in the mouth
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing or swallowing
  • Swelling or a mass in your neck that won’t go away

How is oral cancer treated?

If detected early enough, most incidents of oral cancer are curable and can be treated with surgery. If major surgery must be completed, the essential portions of your oral cavity that are removed will be reconstructed to preserve the function and appearance of your mouth. Radiation therapy is also used to treat oral cancer, and may or may not be accompanied by surgery. Chemotherapy may be used in conjunction with surgery, or it may be used alone if the cancer is discovered in an advanced stage. If effective, chemotherapy treatment can stop the spread of cancer to other parts of your body.

What can I do to help prevent oral cancer?

The best thing you can do is to refrain from using tobacco and drinking an excessive amount of alcohol. If you smoke, chew tobacco, dip snuff, or smoke pipes, you have a much greater chance of developing oral cancer than those who do not use these products. Tobacco and alcohol use may also increase your vulnerability to developing cancer in other parts of your body.

If you live in the Calgary, Alberta area and it’s time to schedule your routine oral cancer screening, please call 403-543-4600 or complete our online contact form to reach the dental team at the Aesthetic Dental Studio today.