Oral cancer includes cancer of the tongue, cheek, or gums.
Contributing Risk Factors
Amongst those who chew tobacco, mouth problems that may seem minor soon become quite serious. For example, tooth decay may begin from the high sugar contents in some formulations, while enamel surfaces wear down. Gums may pull away from the teeth where the tobacco is commonly placed and tooth loss may also occur. When health hazards become extremely serious, white patches and red sores may be found in the mouth on the gum and/or cheek, or where tobacco contact is most prevalent. These patches, which may become cancerous
over time, are called leukoplakia
, and are found quite often among chewing tobacco users.
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the symptoms are: sores in mouth that don't go away, red or white patches in mouth, constant bleeding in mouth, numbness in mouth, swelling or lumps in mouth, and - late symptoms - difficulty with swallowing and speech.
Treatment and Prevention
Mouth cancer is very hard to cure, and because it spreads rapidly through the body, it is essential to take precautions immediately.
By quitting tobacco today and receiving treatment for your mouth problems, you may be able to catch the cancer before it is too late.
Regular visits to the dentist can help spot warning signs.