Medical Monday : Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can impact areas in the mouth and the throat.
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 8:38 AM EDT
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Oral cancer can impact areas in the mouth and the throat. That’s the focus of this week’s Medical Monday with Vanessa Symonick.

Dr. Naghmeh Isfahanian: “Oral cancer is higher in the men, two times higher compared to the women. This is the first difference in demographic. The other part is in the past, the average range was about fifty. Over the time especially with HPV this age decreased”.

Oral cancer can be defined as a cancer involving the areas in the mouth and the back of the throat. Symptoms include a sore in the mouth that may have not healed or feeling a lump in the mouth or neck area. If these symptoms last more than a week you need to see a medical professional. Also Having ear pain or loose teeth and bleeding can also be signs. There are several risk factors that can lead to developing oral cancer.

Isfahanian: “The main etiology or factors as a risk factor is environmental. If I want to summarize probably, I’d put on the top of the list smoking. Smoking any type, it doesn’t matter. Cigarettes, cigar, pipe, and chew tobacco”.

In addition to smoking, she also says heavy alcohol consumption can also play a major role in developing oral cancer. In cases where it develops on the lips, sun exposure can be a cause. HPV can also be a cause in some cases. There can be ways to prevent this cancer from occurring.

Isfahanian: “For my patient I summarize prevention in different categories. One of them is definitely is no tobacco. I’m not compromising less or more. No tobacco in any form. Regarding the drinking, just the moderate alcohol drink. Heavy alcohol drink is a significant risk factor”.

Some forms of oral cancer will require surgery.

Isfahanian: “The first group is oncology group including ear, nose throat oncology surgeon. The second group of surgery is plastic surgery because sometimes the surgery is quite extensive and need reconstruction.”

Other methods for treating oral cancer can be through chemotherapy and immunotherapy or radiational oncology. Before these treatments occur, she says it’s important to see your dentist first as well as a speech pathologist. In most cases patients should also consult a dietician to discuss weight loss and intake of liquid. And she has this message for anyone who may be hesitant to discuss potential symptoms with their primary care provider.

Isfahanian: " Definitely there is no reason to be nervous or avoid discussion with a primary care provider. Any symptoms bothering should be a review with a specialist”.

Vanessa Symonick Newssource 8.