What you should know about oral cancer and how to prevent it

what you should know about oral cancer and how to prevent it
The Dentist Dr Gwendolyn Amarquaye Bayitse

Medical practitioner, Dr. Gwendolyn Amarquaye-Bayitse demystified the causes of oral cancer, early detection and the importance of good oral hygiene.

She made this known in Season 2 Episode 5 of the Dental TV Show by Pepsodent Ghana dubbed Time with the Dentist,

Oral cancer is among the top 10 cancers affecting adults in the world today with those aged 55 and above being at the most risk.

Dr. Bayitse explained that oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer refers to sores that develop in any part of the mouth, such as the tongue, mouth lining, lips, gums, inside of the cheeks, on the roof of the mouth (palate). It is also among the major oral diseases that cause of death.

According to her, “anyone can get oral cancer but there are some factors that make some people more likely than others to get it and these include all forms of tobacco use; be it smoking or chewing, over consumption of alcohol, poor diet and persistent infection with the human papilloma virus” commonly known as HPV.

She confirmed that treatment for oral cancer is possible giving a higher chance of survival. “There is surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, and these are all treatment modalities available.

However, treatment will depend on the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. And this is one of the reasons why we encourage regular visits to the dentist.”

She justified the need for regular visits to the dentist considering that it “plays a very important role in the early detection of oral cancers through thorough examination of all the tissues in and around the mouth.

Once a dentist notices anything suspicious further investigations will be done to confirm and appropriate referral if need be”.

Oral cancer is cancer that occurs in and around the mouth. It can start as a swelling or sore in the mouth that does not go away after a long period of time.

While a full diagnosis is required from a dentist, some other symptoms to look out for include a persistent lump or a white or red patch on the inside of the mouth, pain around the ear or mouth, persistent numbness or an odd feeling on the lip or tongue.

Dr. Bayitse emphasized the need to practice good oral hygiene, adding that, “if oral cancer is diagnosed early, a complete cure is often possible so don’t wait until it’s too late. Remember to brush day and night with a fluoride toothpaste and take charge of your oral health.”

Time with The Dentist is a dental TV show by Pepsodent in partnership with the Ghana Dental Association to educate Ghanaians on basic oral hygiene routines, how to care for the teeth, some myths and facts associated with maintaining good oral hygiene among others.

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