​Oral Cancer and Throat Cancer Symptoms and Screening

What is Throat Cancer?

oral throat cancer symptomsWhile throat cancer is a relatively uncommon cancer, its effects can be just as devastating as other more common types of cancer. When we think of throat cancer, we are really identifying a generic term for two different types of cancer: pharyngeal cancer (which develops in the pharynx, or the back of your throat and mouth); and laryngeal cancer (which is further down your throat near the larynx, or voice box). When medical and dental professionals talk about throat cancer, they are referring to either squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma. Both of which can be present in either pharyngeal cancer or laryngeal cancer.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Throat Cancer?

There are several distinct signs and symptoms of throat cancer, whether you are talking about pharyngeal cancer or laryngeal cancer. People may experience a change in the tone or sound of their voice. They may also experience difficulty swallowing or experience a prolonged sore throat. Constantly feeling the need to clear your throat, or the presence of a persistent cough with the presence of blood is also considered a sign of throat cancer. People should pay attention to ear pain, wheezing when they breathe, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. In addition, hoarseness in the throat may be present. Typically, these signs and symptoms are not explained by pre-existing conditions or diseases. They develop independently and start the investigation toward cancer.

We all know the effects that websites like WebMD have had on people these days. Don't jump to conclusions regarding your symptoms, but if something seems worrisome, or out of the ordinary, please make sure to consult your doctor to better determine what might be going on.

What are the Most Popular Methods of Detection for Throat Cancer?

There are several clinical tests that may be conducted to determine if a person has a form of throat cancer. The most popular method is a visual inspection using a procedure called laryngoscopy, in which the doctor will place a tube with a camera attached to it down your throat to get a closer look at the tissue and lining of the throat. A biopsy is also an effective way of determining abnormalities in the tissue in the throat. MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) tests can also be administered to see the scope of the cancerous spread. Your dentist can also play a key role in detecting throat cancer, so it is important to have regular visits with him or her.

How a Dentist Can Help in Early Detection of Throat Cancer

At Water Tower Dental Care Center, we utilize a technology called VELscope. This light technology allows our dentists to see abnormal cells that wouldn’t be normally visible to the naked eye. This is an important piece in the detection and treatment of throat cancer, as well as other oral cancers, and just one more way that we provide quality care to our patients.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer can also be known as mouth cancer. Typically, mouth cancers appear as either a bump or lesion that needs to be investigated further to determine the presence of cancer. Oral cancer can include salivary gland cancer, as well as tongue cancer and buccal (cheek) cancer. Oral cancers also include lip cancers (external lips and internal lips), oromandibular cancers (in the lower jaw), and palatomaxillary cancers (in the upper jaw and palate of the mouth).

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

The first sign that cancer may be present in the mouth is the appearance of lesions. These lesions are typically white in color or red in color and cannot be brushed off or picked off. These lesions don’t seem to have any reason for being present, and sometimes patients can’t determine when they started. Other signs and symptoms can include ear pain because the mouth, nose, and ears are all attached to one another. An unexplained sore throat, ongoing numbness or pain in the mouth, as well as difficulty swallowing, chewing or speaking can all be signs and symptoms of oral cancer. Bleeding may also be present without explanation.

The signs and symptoms associated with oral cancer can go on for some time before clients realize there is a problem. Clients are unable to pinpoint when or what has caused them and they are usually discovered after the lesions or discolorations have started. Early detection is very important when dealing with oral cancers.

What are the Most Popular Methods of Detection for Oral Cancer?

The identification of any lesions is vital in determining the type and stage of cancer that is present in the mouth. Biopsies may be taken to identify the progression of cancer. Gathering a full medical and dental history is also very helpful in diagnosing oral cancer. Stain tests, optical coherence tomography testing, and brush cytology may be required for further diagnosis and confirmation of the disease.

How a Dentist Can Help in Early Detection of Oral Cancer

Dentists are the oral care experts, and it is important to consult with your dentist if you believe you may be at risk for oral cancer, or if you have signs or symptoms you may be concerned about. As with our methods of early detection for throat cancer, Water Tower Dental Care Center will utilize our cutting edge technology called VELscope to identify any issues that may be developing differently than what is normally expected. Early detection is a key component in managing and surviving any cancer, and we are thrilled to be able to offer this detection service to our clients. Don’t wait to see a medical professional if you think you may have signs and symptoms of oral cancer.

Looking for more information about Oral/Throat cancer, or just want to set up an appointment. Contact Water Tower Dental Care in Chicago today!