why is oral cancer surgery necessary

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancer in the world, and according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, close to half of oral cancers are diagnosed at late stages, making them especially deadly. Early detection through regular screenings and biopsies can help save lives since oral cancer surgery is performed earlier on in cancer development.

If you or someone you know is at risk, then please read on to learn more about early intervention and the importance of oral cancer surgery.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the tissues of the mouth or throat. It can occur anywhere in the oral cavity, including the lips, gums, tongue, cheek lining, and roof or floor of the mouth. According to the American Cancer Society, about 54,000 people will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year.

How Regular Checkups Can Prevent Advanced Cancers

Most people are aware of the importance of regular cancer screenings, but they may not realize that these screenings can detect oral cancer in its earliest stages. When caught early, oral cancer is highly treatable. Unfortunately, all too often, oral cancer cases are spotted too late. Regular screenings can help identify oral cancer in its earliest stages, offering lifesaving benefits via minimally invasive cancer surgery.

Treatment for Oral Cancer

There are several treatment options available for oral cancer, depending on the stage of cancer. The most common treatments are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is often the first line of treatment, followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy. For early-stage cancers, surgery may be the only treatment necessary. More advanced cancers may require a combination of these treatments.

For oral cancers located in advanced stages, doctors will likely recommend a combination of different types of treatment to fight both primary tumors and any metastases—or secondary tumors—that have spread to other parts of your body.

Risks Factors For Developing Mouth Cancers

Most people who develop mouth cancers use tobacco in some form, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco. Alcohol abuse is another major risk factor; cancer of the mouth is more common in people who drink heavily. A diet low in fruits and vegetables may also contribute to the development of cancer. People who have a history of cancer are at an increased risk for developing new cancers, including cancer of the mouth.

Additionally, people with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection are at an increased risk of developing cancer of the tongue. Sun exposure also poses a risk.

Regular screenings, early intervention, and biopsies are important in checking for oral cancer.

How to Tell if You Have Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can present itself in a number of ways, so it’s important to be aware of the potential signs and symptoms. If you notice any symptoms, please see our Long Island dentists as soon as possible.

Watch for:

  • A white or red patch or sore in your mouth that does not go away after two weeks.
  • Swelling or numbness in your mouth, face, neck, head, arms, or legs that is new and lasts more than two weeks.
  • Change in voice due to trouble swallowing.
  • Changes in sensation on one side of your mouth that lasts more than two weeks.
  • A sore throat with no other cold symptoms lasting for two weeks or longer.

What Is Involved In Oral Cancer Surgery?

Oral cancer surgery is a procedure to remove cancer from your mouth. The surgery may involve the removal of adjacent structures, depending on how much the cancer has spread. You will be given general anesthesia to keep you from feeling pain during the surgery. The surgery could be short or take several hours. Complex cases may require a stay in the hospital for a few days afterward. Recovery time is typically 4-6 weeks. After that period, patients are encouraged to return to their normal routine as much as possible. However, those who have had oral cancer surgery should not chew on anything hard or do any heavy lifting until their doctor gives them permission.

For many people recovering from advanced oral cancer surgery, losing teeth will likely occur, which can lead to difficulty eating or speaking properly.

It is important that oral cancers are found early so that they can be treated before they spread to other parts of the body. Regular screenings at our dental office and biopsies of suspicious tissues are key steps in early detection and intervention.

When Should I Worry About  Lips Or Mouth Sores?

You should worry about a mouth sore if it is accompanied by a lump, is white or red, bleeds easily, persists for more than two weeks, or is painful. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see our Long Island dentists for a biopsy to check for oral cancer.

Early intervention is key when it comes to oral cancer, as it can be difficult to treat once it has spread. A biopsy will help determine what type of treatment you need and how aggressive your treatment will be. We can quickly perform a biopsy on your mouth sore to determine whether it is cancerous or not. After the results come back, we will discuss with you what your next steps are in order to get rid of the disease before it spreads even further.

Who Should I See For an Oral Cancer Screening?

Most people are aware that they should see their dentist for a teeth cleaning and checkup every six months, but many don’t realize that these appointments also include an oral cancer screening. During your regular cleaning, our Suffolk County dentists will examine your mouth for any changes in color or texture of the tissue that could be indicative of cancer. We will also feel around your jaw and neck for any lumps or swellings.

If we find anything suspicious, we will likely recommend a biopsy to confirm whether or not the tissue is cancerous. Caught early, oral cancer is highly treatable; that’s why it’s so important to see a dentist regularly and to follow up on any suspicious findings.

Long Island Oral Cancer Treatments

If you’re in Long Island and are worried about oral cancer, Sachem Dental Group can help. We offer screenings and guidance on oral surgery for cancer. It’s important to plan regular screenings and any necessary biopsies to check for oral cancer, as early intervention is key. We’re here to help you every step of the way. Call now to get started.