That one small sore in the back of your gums you keep ignoring; the one that hurts, but not as much; the one which you are trying to wipe out by brushing your teeth a little too often, might be a symptom of oral cancer. Get it checked. Now.
India is highly vulnerable to oral cancer. Excessive consumption of tobacco, alcoholism makes India one of the leading nations which is affected by oral cancer. In fact, one third of all reported cancers in India are oral cancers. It is also one of the leading causes of death related to cancer.
What is oral cancer?
The condition where you cells grow uncontrollably and invade and damage the surrounding tissues, is called cancer. When something similar happens in your oral cavity it is called an oral cancer. Oral cancer can affect your lips, tongue, cheeks, floor or the roof of the mouth, and throat. It is as serious as any other cancer and requires early diagnosis for effective treatment.
What causes oral cancer?
Cancer, as usual, is mostly caused due to excessive consumption of tobacco and alcohol. When it comes to oral cancer, you can imagine how much these habits can increase your risk of getting oral cancer. In addition to that prolonged exposure of your lips to sunlight can also cause cancer in lips. Genetics has a role to play as well. There is one sexually transmitted virus, called human papillomavirus, which is also linked to causing oral cancer.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
The symptoms of oral cancer might show up as general, non-threatening oral issues. This is why, you might try to shrug it off by using some home remedies or OTC medicines. However, watch out for the following symptoms:
- Swelling or bumps inside your mouth
- Crusts or erosion of tissues inside the mouth
- Red, white or dotted patches in the mouth
- Discomfort in (or feeling a change in the way of) biting, chewing or gulping or talking
- Dry mouth or throat
- Sore throat
There are other distant symptoms which might also indicate an oral cancer. Like,
- Sudden, unexplainable weight loss
- Unexplainable bleeding in the oral cavity
- Numbness in your neck
- Feeling of something foreign at the back of your throat
- Ear pain
- Change in voice
If you find yourself suffering from any of these symptoms, even if you do not think that it could be cancer, best get checked out. There is no harm in professionally ruling out the possibility.
Why is India at risk?
In India, oral care or dental care had always taken a back seat. We don’t pay as much attention to our oral hygiene as much as we are cautious about the other health aspects. Many of us do not visit a dentist regularly. As a result, the cancer is detected only at an advanced stage and at that time, there is no cure; treatments can only help you manage the symptoms better. In fact, since India is a relatively poor country, even after oral cancer is detected, not many can afford the cost of the treatment.
What can we do about it?
The situation with oral cancer in India is not showing any visible betterment. More than 5 Indians die of oral cancer every hour of every day! But it’s never too late to start and you can be an integral part of it. You can start off by spending ten minutes a day to care for your teeth. Look after your children’s oral health. Visit a doctor biannually or more often if required. Spread awareness in your workplace and neighbourhood. You can even donate in some organisations which collect funds to treat those who cannot afford a treatment for oral cancer.
The 4th of February is observed as World Cancer Day across the world. We, at GA Dentals, would like to ask you to take a pledge with us to prevent Oral Cancer: pledge with us to be careful about our oral health, to visit a dentist regularly, to eat and live healthy free from tobacco and alcohol, and to spread awareness regarding oral cancer as much as we can! Together, we will take India to a better place – to a place with less oral issues, to a place with less oral cancer fatality!
About Dr. Gowtham Kattamuri
Dr. Gowtham has done his BDS from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in 2006 and MDS – Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics from Dr. MGR Medical University in 2010. He is a skilled Endodontist with an experience of over 10 years. Dr. Gowtham is specialized in replacement of teeth, Root Canal, Braces, Dental Implants, prosthetics for maxillofacial defects such as artificial eye, ear, nose and orbital defects, Smile Makeovers with laminates, Zirconia, veneers metal free ceramics. He also performs general dental procedures such as restorations and extractions. He also is trained as an International Patient Coordinator.
ABOUT THE CLINIC:
GA Dental Clinics is a standout amongst the all the famous dental hospitals in Hyderabad, owing to the world class infrastructure it has, and the utility of leading edge technology at the clinic. Besides its unique infrastructure and highly qualified specialists, GA Dental Clinic in Hyderabad believes in delivering services at par with global standards.