Oral Cancer Treatment Ft. Lauderdale
It is important for all patients to have a routine evaluation for signs of changes and or growths within the oral cavity. Dr. Sultan and his colleagues recommend those at high risk for oral cancer, namely smokers, drinkers, users of chewing tobacco perform a self-evaluation monthly. When detected in the early stages, oral cancer may be more easily treated.
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Warning Signs of Oral Cancer
- Reddish patches or whitish patches in the mouth
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck.
Pain does not always occur with pathology and, curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
Should a suspicious area be detected, a biopsy may be recommended in order to perform a microscopic evaluation for an accurate diagnosis. At this point, a variety of treatment options may be recommended, ranging from observation, medication, radiation, and or surgery.
As opposed to oral cancer, there are other types of growths that are found in the oral cavity. A tumor is a localized growth of hard or soft tissue. It can be benign (staying in one place ) or malignant (travels to other areas of the body). A cyst is a fluid-filled cavity also found either in the soft or hard tissues. Although cysts and tumors may not be malignant, they can enlarge locally causing pain and tissue destruction. It is important that Dr. Sultan takes a 3D CT scan in order to detect bony changes that may not normally be seen with routine dental x-rays.
Infections in the Oral Cavity
Should you develop acute tooth pain, please see your dentist as soon as possible. This can be an early warning sign of a developing infection. Ignoring the problem will not make the condition better. Contrary to popular belief, taking antibiotics will only control an infection, not necessarily curing it. A definitive treatment for an infection may include drainage, root canal or possibly removal of the tooth. If pain is associated with fever, swelling, difficulty in opening the mouth, difficulty swallowing or breathing, these are signs of a serious, possibly life-threatening infection. These conditions may involve hospitalization, intravenous antibiotics, and surgery.
What Causes An Oral Cyst To Form?
Oral cysts, also known as mucous cysts, are most commonly caused by trauma to the oral cavity, such as:
- Lip biting (most common cause)
- Cheek biting
- Accidental rupture of a salivary gland
- Adjacent teeth causing chronic damage
How Is An Oral Cyst Removed?
Most cysts will rupture on their own, so they don’t need any attention. But some cysts persist, and although they are typically painless, it’s a good idea to have them removed because they can become permanent. When cysts re-form after being opened, they will usually be recommended to be removed. Sometimes excisional surgery may be necessary, but this is rare with oral cysts.
Dr. Sultan can remove cysts using these methods:
- Laser therapy — Laser energy is used to remove the cyst.
- Cryotherapy — Liquid nitrogen freezes the tissues and deflates the cyst.
- Corticosteroid injection — By injecting steroids into the cyst, inflammation is reduced, and the cyst goes away.
How Long Does It Take To Heal After Having An Oral Cyst Removed?
Most oral cysts are treated by rupturing them. They then resolve in a few days without any pain or further attention. Removal methods such as laser treatment or cryotherapy also clear in a week or so. If the cyst has necessitated removing it from the bone, obviously your healing will be far more involved, but Dr. Sultan will discuss this with you.
Are These Treatments For Oral Cysts Permanent?
It is hoped the treatment to rupture or remove your cyst was permanent. But some cysts re-form. Plus, if you continue some of the behaviors that can lead to cyst development, such as biting your cheek, another cyst can certainly form.
How Is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?
Part of every routine dental cleaning and exam is a check for signs of oral cancer. This is the reason your dentist looks at the roof and floor of your mouth, pulls your tongue to the side, and checks your lymph nodes on your neck. If any tumors, growths, or suspicious lesions are found, the dentist will perform a brush biopsy or a tissue biopsy. Either method obtains cells that can be tested to see if cancer is present.
For further diagnosis, these tests could be used:
- X-rays — These can show if cancer cells have spread to the jaw, chest, or lungs.
- CT scan — These scans show soft tissue that x-rays cannot, so they can check the mouth, throat, neck, and lungs for signs of cancer.
- PET scan — These scans test to see if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs.
- MRI scan — These show the most accurate images of the head and neck and look for the stage or the extent of cancer.
- Endoscopy — An endoscope is inserted into the nose or throat to check the nasal passages, sinuses, inner throat, windpipe, and trachea.
How Long Does It Take Oral Cancer To Spread?
There is no timeframe for oral cancer spreading. That’s why it is of paramount importance to see your dentist for your twice-yearly cleanings and exams. That will be the time oral cancer can be spotted. If you’ve not gone more than six months since your last exam, new cancer would be stage 1, early stage.
Oral cancer that is not detected early is particularly deadly. The five-year survival rate of oral cancer diagnosed after the early stages are only 57 percent. Early-stage oral cancer often is not noticed by the patient, as it can develop without producing pain or symptoms. It also has a high risk of producing second, primary tumors.
How Is An Oral Tumor Treated?
How Dr. Sultan treats an oral cancer tumor depends on the type, location, and stage of cancer. These are the options:
- Surgery — Early-stage cancer usually is treated with surgery to remove the tumor and cancerous lymph nodes. Other surrounding tissue may be taken, as well.
- Radiation therapy — Dr. Sultan does not perform radiation therapy, but another specialist would. It involves aiming radiation beams at the tumor once or twice a day, five days a week, for two to eight weeks.
- Chemotherapy — This involves drugs that kill cancer cells. The medicine is given orally or by through an intravenous (IV) line.
- Targeted therapy — The patient is given specific drugs that bind to specific proteins on cancer cells.
How Can You Tell the Difference between a Cyst and a Tumor?
Cysts and tumors can both be found in the mouth, and they can create serious anxiety. So, how do you tell the difference between the typically harmless cyst and the potentially dangerous tumor? Both are lumps, but it’s what is inside that differentiates the two.
Cysts are small sacs filled with air, fluid, or other material. A tumor refers to any unusual area of extra tissue.
In most cases, you can’t tell the difference by simply looking at a cyst or a tumor. But there are some characteristics to watch for to see whether it’s more likely to be a cyst or a tumor. In any case, this isn’t something to mess around with; a call to your dentist or Dr. Sultan is the best course of action.
- Cysts are usually red and swollen; tumors are not.
- Cysts may have a blackhead in the center; tumor don’t.
- Cysts have white, yellow, or green discharge; tumors don’t
- Cysts are tender; tumors aren’t.
- Cysts can move around under the skin; tumors cannot.
- Tumors are fast growing and firm; cysts are neither.
These aren’t hard and fast rules, but they can give you an idea.
How Big Can an Oral Cyst or Tumor Get?
There isn’t any set size for either of these growths. Tumors can grow very quickly, and they can damage surrounding bone or displace teeth. If you see signs of either of these growths, this is the time to see your dentist or to call Dr. Sultan for his oral surgery expertise.
Will These Growths Affect My Ability to Eat?
These growths should not be ignored to the degree that they begin to impact a person’s ability to eat normally. Long before that time, they should be treated or surgically removed. When Dr. Sultan removes a cyst, in most cases by rupturing it, this involves a few days of likely eating a soft diet, but this can vary with the patient and the location of the cyst. Removing a tumor can involve more tissue or even bone. Recovery after this removal will involve maintaining a soft diet during your initial healing.
Is There Anything I Need to Do to Prepare for Cyst or Tumor Removal?
Unless the tumor is quite large and has invaded bone, most of these removal procedures are performed with the patient under local anesthesia, usually with sedation. Those anesthesia methods don’t require fasting and the like. These are oral surgery, however, so it’s likely Dr. Sultan will require you to stop taking any blood thinning medication, aspirin, anti-inflammatories, and most herbal supplements for a couple days prior to your surgery. These can all lead to excessive bleeding.
What Is Recovery Like after Removal of a Cyst or Tumor?
Each patient’s situation is unique. When Dr. Sultan ruptures or removes these unwanted growths, the location, size, and impact it has had on surrounding structures dictate the recovery involved.
Cysts rarely require much recovery, usually just a couple days of eating soft foods to avoid the area. Tumor removal can be straightforward when the tumor is small and easily removed. Or it may have invaded bone or areas of tissue that make removal much more difficult. Recovery will be more involved as well.
When Dr. Sultan examines your unique situation, he can give you an idea of what’s needed and what you can expect for your recovery.
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