Jaw Cancer: Symptoms and Signs
Jaw cancer is the type of cancer that affects your jawbones. The list of primary jaw cancers involves malignant giant cell tumors, Ewing sarcoma, osteosarcoma and some others. One more way for the cancer to develop is when the cancers that invade into other areas of your body spread to your jaw. In such like cases, we are talking about “secondary jaw cancer”. Most often, doctors diagnose a squamous cell carcinoma that has spread to the jawbone of a patient.
No matter whether you’re dealing with primary or secondary cancer, your bone is said to be destructed by the tumor. It is important to know the very early symptoms of jaw cancer so that it can be diagnosed on the very early stages. Besides, the sooner you’re provided with an adequate treatment, the better is your prognosis.
Painful Sensation in Jaw and Tenderness
Painful sensations in jaw is a usual symptom in case you are diagnosed with jaw cancer. Depending on the size of the tumor, the pain may be more or less intensive. As the disease develops, painful sensations become more persistent and cause more discomfort. If the tumor is located quite close to the facial nerve, there may be painful sensations in your neck or somewhere in the face. You may feel pain when trying to chew something. However, this also depends on the location of the tumor. What matters here is the place inside your jaw where the tumor is located. If you touch the area where there is tumor, you will feel that it’s quite tender.
Mass in the Facial or Intraoral Area
If your tumor is quite big, there may appear a mass somewhere in the facial area or in the area of your mouth. If cancer starts somewhere in the inner area of your jawbone, it may only take a month for a mass to develop. If cancer begins on the outside area of your jawbone, it’s usual for facial masses to appear. Adults and young adults are prone to having Ewing sarcoma of the jaw. Keep in mind that such like tumor develops very quickly. The reason for it is that there is less bone mass in your jaw than there is in the bones of your legs and arms.
At the same time, this kind of tumors usually start to develop in the bones of legs and arms. According to the National Cancer Institute, patients that suffer from osteosarcomas of the jaw and facial bones have a better future prognosis than those dealing with cancer that begins in the extremities. Osteosarcomas of the jaw and facial bones develop smaller tumors compared to the tumors starting in the extremities. Besides, these tumors are less likely to invade into other areas of your body as the disease develops.
Actually, if you’re your teeth are loose, it may be the first symptom suggesting that you may have a jaw cancer. Your jaws have sockets for each individual tooth. Your teeth are set firmly in these sockets. However, when the tumor invades in these sockets, your teeth may become loose. This is the size of the tumor that determines how many teeth will be affected. Since teeth may also be affected by the disease, visiting a dentist is also important to detect the cancer on an early stage.
If you suspect that you may have jaw cancer and you notice that there are some specific symptoms of it, we recommend you to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Even though the symptoms may be caused by other diseases apart from the cancer, it’s better for you to take precaution measures.