Oral cancer is a form of cancer that can develop in any area of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums, roof of the mouth and pharynx.
This type of cancer is relatively rare, but can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated in its early stages.
One of the main problems with oral cancer is the risk of missed diagnosis, which can lead to an increased mortality rate.
Missed diagnosis of oral cancer can occur due to non-specific symptoms and lack of awareness of risk.
Symptoms of oral cancer may include mouth pain, swelling, persistent lesions or bleeding, voice changes or difficulty swallowing. These symptoms can easily be mistaken for other common oral problems, such as dental conditions or mouth infections, which can slow down or even prevent the diagnosis of oral cancer.
Also, another factor that can contribute to the failure to diagnose oral cancer is a lack of awareness of risk.
Many people are unaware that they may be at risk for oral cancer because they have no family history or have not been exposed to known risk factors, such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.
This can cause people to be unaware of the symptoms of oral cancer and not go to the doctor for assessment.
The death rate from oral cancer is worrying, mainly due to missed diagnosis.
Oral cancer diagnosed at early stages has a much higher survival rate than cancer diagnosed at advanced stages.
However, when oral cancer is not diagnosed until advanced stages, the chances of survival decrease significantly.
To reduce the risk of missed oral cancer diagnosis and mortality rates, it is important that people are aware of the symptoms of oral cancer and see their doctor for evaluation if they have any suspicious symptoms.
It is also important for doctors to be aware of the risks and symptoms of oral cancer and to assess patients with suspicious symptoms.
There are also preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing oral cancer.
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are two of the most important risk factors for oral cancer, so avoiding these behaviors can reduce the risk. A healthy diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, may also be beneficial for oral cancer prevention.
It is important to screen for oral cancer in people at increased risk, such as smokers or those with a family history of oral cancer.
This can help detect oral cancer early and improve the chances of survival.
Lately, due to the evolution of cancerous forms, as a reaction to treatments but also to products that come into contact with the oral region, the doctor may encounter problems in diagnosing pathological forms of oral
Either patients present themselves too late to the dentist’s office or the dentist fails to perform a complete and comprehensive endooral examination to detect any mucosal changes, cancers have devastating effects.
They cause significant functional and psychological damage that can irreparably affect the patient’s quality of life.
Failure to diagnose pathological processes can cost the patient’s life.
Therefore, not only the doctor, but also the patient has an obligation to report any changes in mucosal mobility, appearance and shape.
The symptoms of oral cancer are as follows:
– unnatural dryness of the mucous membranes and a tendency to bleed easily, even when eating.
– white or red, raised deposits that are not removed by cleaning.
– hardened, raised areas of mucosa on palpation that are not necessarily accompanied by painful symptoms.
– difficulty swallowing, chewing and even speaking.
– unilateral pain felt in the ears.
– if the patient is wearing a removable denture, tilting or detachment of the denture during normal function should be a sign to refer the patient to the dentist’s surgery.
In most cases it is not a cancerous formation but unfortunately such situations do occur, so any variation from normal should be taken seriously and investigated.
Considerations in oral cancer screening
Statistics show that oral cancer causes more than 15,000 deaths globally each year. It is the sixth most common cancerous disease, affecting both sexes but with a slight male predilection.
Unfortunately, survival for cancers is low, at less than 15% in the first 5 years after diagnosis. The main cause is late detection, in advanced stages where invasion is extensive, not allowing surgery.
The cancerous tumor often develops asymptomatically, making it even more difficult to detect during routine screening.
Modern habits that increase the rate of oral cancer:
– smoking: both regular and electronic cigarettes have an increased risk of generating a tumor formation.
– a disorganized lifestyle, with disregard for certain dietary rules, increases the predisposition to cancer.
– HPV infection: one of the most common sexually transmitted infections.
Screening is particularly important in the early detection of cancerous forms. Patients are therefore encouraged to regularly examine the extraoral regions of their face and neck for any lumps or asymmetries.
It is also important that patients examine their mucous membranes for abnormal thickening, bleeding, deposits or ulcerative lesions during or after tooth brushing.
In addition to this, regular check-ups at the dentist’s office should be carried out every 6 months or whenever the patient observes variations from the normal appearance.
In conclusion, failure to diagnose oral cancer can have serious consequences, including an increased mortality rate.
It is important for people to be aware of the symptoms of oral cancer and to see their doctor for evaluation, and for doctors to be aware of the risks and symptoms of oral cancer and to evaluate patients with suspicious symptoms. Preventive measures, such as avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can help reduce the risk of developing oral cancer.
Regular screening for oral cancer in people at increased risk can help detect oral cancer early and improve the chances of survival.