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The Stages, Prevention, & Treatments for Oral Cancer

October 11, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — robertgraffeo @ 8:05 pm
a woman showing signs of oral cancer in Hoboken

While there are several health issues to look out for in your mouth, such as cavities and gum disease, oral cancer is at the top of the list. You may be aware of the common symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, a mouth sore that won’t go away, or red patches around your soft oral tissues. However, you’ll want to also be familiar with the stages, treatments, and preventive measures to reduce your risks. Keep reading to learn about these essential factors and how you can protect your oral health in the long run!

What Are the Stages of Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer consists of four primary stages. Here’s how you can break them down:

  • Stage 0: This period is also known as “carcinoma in situ,” which is when abnormal cells with the potential to turn cancerous begin lining the lips or mouth.
  • Stage I: This early stage is classified by a tumor that is no larger than 2 centimeters and has not reached the lymph nodes.
  • Stage II: The tumor is now between 2 centimeters and 4 centimeters. It still has yet to reach the lymph nodes.
  • Stage III: In this stage, the cancerous tumor has now grown larger than 4 centimeters or has finally spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV: In the advanced stage, the most notable indication is that the tumor has spread to nearby oral tissues, such as the jaw.

How Can You Treat Oral Cancer?

Though oral cancer is a dangerous and life-threatening condition, many of its symptoms (such as white spots on the bottom of the mouth) can go under the radar for months or even years. For this reason, you’ll want to schedule dental checkups and cleanings with your dentist every six months. With early intervention appointments, they’ll be able to detect indications that would otherwise be unnoticeable and provide the necessary treatment early on. If they catch any signs while assessing your tongue, lymph nodes, and soft oral tissue, they’ll work closely with your primary care physician to address the situation. Your treatment may involve surgery to extract the tumor or even the lymph nodes.

What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Oral Cancer?

To lower your chances of developing oral cancer, be sure to implement the following measures:

  • Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Refrain from using tobacco products
  • Apply sun protection daily, even on your lips
  • Maintain a nutrient-dense, vitamin-rich diet to promote a stronger immune system

Make sure to schedule your next dental checkup and cleaning if you haven’t already. This way your dentist can monitor the condition of your mouth and take the necessary steps if they detect any warning signs of oral cancer in the early stages!

About the Author

Dr. Robert Graffeo studied at the New York University College of Dentistry and has well over 25 years of experience under his belt. He routinely seeks continuing education to expand his expertise and is a member of several groups, like SPEAR education and the Dawson Academy. He provides multiple high-quality and comprehensive services, including dental checkups/cleanings and oral cancer screenings. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call 201-683-3531.

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