Cancer of any kind is frightening. In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we here at the offices of Dr. Kharmouche and Dr. Hardison want to share more information about this alarmingly common type of cancer. From initial exam to the recovery stage, here’s what you should know about oral cancer in Sterling, VA, and Gainesville, VA.

Exam

Because oral cancer is not always easy to spot with the untrained eye, it’s very important that an oral exam screening be completed by a medical professional. During this exam, the dentist or other type of doctor will carefully look at the inside of the mouth and throat. Sometimes a specialist may need to take a closer look or a biopsy may need to be done.

Diagnosis

When a doctor diagnoses a patient with oral cancer, they will learn what stage your cancer is in. There are four stages of oral cancer in two main categories: early cancer and advanced cancer. The sooner cancer is detected, the chances of it spreading or advancing a stage decreases. Often a doctor will use tests like X-rays and MRIs to examine the extent to which the cancer has spread.

Treatment

Like most cancers, oral cancer can be treated with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, drug therapy or surgery. Depending on the individual, more than one treatment option may be recommended.

Recovery

After oral cancer treatment, some people elect to get facial surgery to repair the mouth area and regain normal function. If speech was affected by the cancer and treatment, speech therapy may be recommended as well. Additionally, people who have successfully treated their oral cancer should be diligent about their health. Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from getting an oral cancer screening. If you are worried about the possibility of oral cancer in Sterling, VA, and Gainesville, VA, or would simply like to schedule a periodontal appointment, call us at one of our three office locations.