Oral cancer refers to cancer of the lips, tongue, gums or other parts of the oral cavity. Although those who smoke or drink excessively are more likely to develop cancer, anyone can be diagnosed. Once an expert has diagnosed oral cancer symptoms in Kennewick, WA, it is important to start treatment immediately. Treatment will depend on how advanced the cancer cells are.

What Are The Symptoms?

Although these symptoms could be signs of other conditions, or nothing at all, some common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Unexplained, persistent pain in the mouth 
  • Mouth sores that do not heal within a couple of weeks
  • A lump in the cheek
  • A sore throat or feeling that something is stuck in the throat
  • Changes in the voice

Treatment in Early Stages

By visiting a dentist like Dr. Andrew Mohlman regularly, he or she will be more likely to diagnose oral cancer early if you do develop it. Many people choose to visit our doctor during Oral Cancer Awareness Month each April. If cancer is detected early enough, surgery or targeted drug therapy might take care of the diseased cells. Unfortunately, the longer cancerous cells go undetected, the harder it will be to treat. Aggressive forms may require radiation or chemotherapy.

Types of Oral Cancer Surgeries

A number of surgeries are available to treat oral cancer and depend on where the cancer is and how advanced it is. If possible, a tumor resection is the preferred method as it involves removing the entire cancerous area and a small amount of the surrounding tissue to aid against redevelopment. If the cancer is particularly aggressive, treatment may require full or partial removal of the tongue, jawbone or hard palate.

Related Procedures

Several surgeries to remove cancer require subsequent surgeries to fix other problems. Common procedures include skin grafting for affected parts of the mouth, tracheostomy for easier breathing and dental extractions and implants to restore oral function.

In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we encourage you to visit our office if you are experiencing any oral cancer symptoms in Kennewick, WA. Call 844-834-7909  to schedule an appointment today.