There is dire need of educational awareness to be spread about oral cancer. You might save some lives if you keep reading on.
The knowledge on prevention and treatment of cancer is increasing for the health professionals, yet the numbers of new cases grow every year. The most crucial step is to bring awareness to the public. High death rate is associated to oral cancer because tobacco is very prevalent and it is mostly detected in the later stages, when it is more difficult to be treated. However, it can be detected early and treated with better success as it has been shown in a study that visual screening can reduce mortality in high-risk individuals and has the potential of preventing at least 37000 oral cancer deaths worldwide.
Causal association between oral cancer and tobacco habits has been extensively studied. And we have to work on more studies to check for some strong associations of this cancer with alcohol and oral hygiene practices. Sex ratio reveals a 2: 1 preponderance of male patients. Only 10% to 15% of cases present in localized stages. The poor survival revealed by existing studies is mainly due to the overwhelming proportion of advanced cases
In a nutshell, we have to gather people from all walks of life and educate them about this malady, its causes, its prevention (which is the most important) and illuminate them about the treatment options and suffering associated with it. Below are some FAQs about the disease:
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer can form in any part of the mouth or throat. Most oral cancers begin in the tongue and in the floor of the mouth. Anyone can get oral cancer, but the risk is higher if you are male, over age 40, use tobacco or alcohol or has a history of head or neck cancer. Frequent sun exposure is also a risk for lip cancer.
Why is it Oral Cancer Special?
It is of great concern because it is not so easily detected in the early stages. So, screening is a must! And Indian Subcontinent tops the entire world in its incidence and prevalence.
When should you be worried that you may have Oral Cancer ?
You should get it screened immediately if you have any of these symptoms:
- Patches inside your mouth or on your lips:
o White patches
o Mixed red and white patches
o Red patches
- A sore on your lip or in your mouth that doesn’t heal
- Bleeding in your mouth
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Difficulty wearing dentures
- A lump in your neck
- An earache that doesn’t go away
- Numbness of lower lip and chin
Most often, these symptoms are not from oral cancer. Other health problems can cause them. Anyone with these symptoms should tell their doctor or dentist so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
Oral cancer Awareness Drive is an initiative of Oral Cancer Organization.
About the Author: Anirudha Agnihotry is a graduate from the Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal.