If you are a parent, it can be absolutely devastating to hear your doctor tell you that your child has cancer. Oral cancer is a type of cancer that is rare in children but it does occur.
With April being Oral Cancer Awareness Month, now is a great time to think about what steps you can take to keep your child safe from oral cancer. This article will give you valuable information on how to prevent common types of oral cancer in children.
What are the Risk Factors?
The risk factors associated with oral cancer are as follows:
● Being infected with HPV.
● Having a genetic predisposition.
● Having underlying health conditions such as Fanconi anemia, dyskeratosis congenita, connexin mutation, chronic graft versus host disease, epidermolysis bullosa, or xeroderma pigmentosum.
Fortunately, these conditions are rare in children. However, if your child is affected, parents should be on the lookout for signs and symptoms.
What are the Common Types of Oral Cancer in Children?
The most common types of oral cancer in children are sarcoma and lymphoma. Lymphomas are tumors that originate in the lymph nodes and lymphoid cells. Sarcoma is a group of cancers that grow in the connective tissues of your body. Both benign and malignant tumors can cause difficulty eating and speaking and both can require treatment.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Common signs and symptoms of oral cancer include the following:
● A mouth sore that does not heal.
● Red or white patches on the gum or the lining of the mouth.
● Bleeding, pain or numbness in the mouth.
● A lump or thickening in the mouth.
As with many types of health conditions, early detection is key. Finding symptoms and treating them early on can keep them from getting worse.
Parents that see symptoms of oral cancer in their child should get them checked out as soon as possible. Taking children for regular doctor and dentist appointments is also recommended. Doctors and dentists are trained to detect signs of oral cancer, and they will get your child started on treatment if they see anything in the mouth area that looks suspicious.
How is Oral Cancer Detected?
If your doctor or dentist suspects that your child has oral cancer, he or she will recommend that they undergo testing to find out if this is the case. Tests will include any of the following:
● CT Scan
● PET Scan
How is Oral Cancer Treated?
If the doctor confirms that your child has oral cancer, they may recommend any of the following treatments:
● Targeted therapy
Fortunately, children with oral cancer have high survival rates and are likely to make it through.
No parent will want to hear that their child has oral cancer. However, this is a rare and treatable condition. Parents are advised to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms as early detection is the best defense. We wish your child the best for a happy and healthy childhood.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash