The Doctors: Smoking Cancer Risk
Smokers know that the habit is bad for them, and increases their cancer risks. But The Doctors wanted to explain some of the signs smokers should watch for. One woman said she is ashamed of her expensive smoking habit, but her past attempts to quit have not been successful. She has tried patches, gum, and hypnotism. She also found a sore on her gum, and she was afraid that it might be oral cancer.
The Drs TV: Oral Cancer Warning Signs
Dentist Dr Karent Sierra was back to help Dr Travis Stork of The Doctors explore how smoking affects your cancer risk. DNA is what keeps cells growing, and smoking can damage that DNA. Knowing the signs early on will help doctors remove cancerous cells before they metastasize, or spread.
Dr Sierra said that the places for smokers to watch are the tongue, lips and inner cheek. A crusty spot on the outside of the lip that lasts longer that two weeks is a red flag. On the inside of the lip, you might have a white patchy area that can’t be removed. Sometimes they could have no symptoms and you might not even notice!
The Doctors: Oral Cancer Tongue Symptoms + Survival Rate
The most prevalent area for oral cancer is the tongue, Dr Sierra said. She said that she does a thorough examination to check for early signs, physically moving the tongue to see the back of it. Early detection is always the best thing in terms of prevention and successful treatment.
On the cheeks, watch for an asymmetrical white line. Your cheeks should naturally have symmetrical Linea Alba on both sides of your cheek. But if you see something asymmetrical that is only on one side of the mouth, be sure to take notice. The survival rate for oral cancer when it is not caught early is 50%, which is not a risk you want to take.
The Drs TV: Mouth Ulcers + Oral Cancer
Some patients also find ulcers on the roof of the mouth, which means it’s time to see the dentist for sure. Also watch for bleeding, ear pain, numbness, and problems swallowing or chewing. For 35 years, one woman said she has been unable to kick the habit. She tearfully wondered whether the spot on her gum is a sign of oral cancer.
The Doctors team sent her to get a complete oral exam, and Dr Stork encouraged her to get serious about quitting for good. She has stumbled in the past, but she accepted the offer of innovative hypnotherapy techniques, courtesy of the show.