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Recent studies show that although the death rate has decreased in many types of cancer, this rate has increased in oral cancer. However, oral cancer is one of the easiest diseases to treat if it is diagnosed early. The disease can be caught at an early stage with an intraoral cancer screening that your dentist will do once a year

Turkey Medicals Dentistry Co-ordinator – we answered your questions about oral cancers and dental treatments during pregnancy…

Who is at risk of oral cancer?

Many people are surprised to hear that every hour a person dies of oral cancer. This type of cancer is much more deadly than neck, brain, ovarian and skin cancer. In recent studies, it has been observed that although the death rate has decreased in many types of cancer, this rate has increased in oral cancers. We already knew that early detection methods such as pap smear tests, PSA tests, and mammography were useful in reducing the rates of uterine, prostate, and breast cancers.

Since it was found out that oral cancers are one of the easiest diseases to treat if they are diagnosed early, it has become quite important for your dentist to see you regularly to carefully monitor the problems in your mouth. If the lesions that are likely to turn into cancer or oral cancer are caught at an early stage, the treatment is much easier, its spread can be prevented, and the success rate is more than 80 percent. With the innovations brought by technology, early detection has increased its use in oral screening devices as well as examination, and has increased its success rate.


What are the symptoms of oral cancers?

There are two types of lesions that are suspected of being cancer or are likely to turn into cancer: white lesions (leukopylakies) and red lesions (erythroplakies). Red lesions are much less common, but they have a much greater risk of developing into cancer. If the red or white lesion does not go away on its own within 2 weeks, it should be re-evaluated and a biopsy should be taken for a definitive diagnosis. Other symptoms of oral cancers:

Difficulty chewing and swallowing

Numbness of the tongue

Hoarseness of voice

Pain in the ear

Difficulty in tongue or jaw movements

If any of these symptoms appear for more than two weeks, an examination and necessary laboratory tests should be performed.

What are the risk factors for oral cancers?

Tobacco and alcohol use

Prolonged exposure to the sun (especially in lip cancer)

Age (The risk of oral cancer increases with age)

Gender (the risk of occurrence in men is twice as high as in women)

Race (The risk of developing cancer of the black race is twice as high as the white race).

What should be done to detect oral cancer?

Early detection is very important in oral cancers. Oral cancers spread very quickly, only half of the cases seen can live for 5 years after their diagnosis. Your dentist should do cancer screening for the mouth at least once a year. The scan should include the entire face, lips, head and neck, the inside of the lips, gums, the inside of the cheeks, the bottom of the mouth, the surfaces of the tongue and the palate. New types of oral cancer examinations also include fluorescent lights and special mouthwash and dyes.


What recommendations can you give to a pregnant patient who will undergo dental treatment?

The first goal of dental treatment during pregnancy is to carry out the necessary treatments without causing side effects to the mother or the developing baby. Large or risky transactions should be postponed as much as possible.

But it would be unreasonable not to do the necessary treatment, and it can become more dangerous than the negative side effects that can normally occur during treatment. For example, if there is a bruise near the nerve and this bruise is in a position to harm your baby by causing an infection, it would make sense to solve the problem in no time.

It is recommended to refrain from X-ray treatment unless necessary in an emergency. If an X-ray is to be taken, it is necessary to protect the abdominal area with a bulletproof vest. In addition, the dentist should not use drug needles containing epinephrine and drugs that can pass through the placental barrier of the baby during treatment. Penicillin and erythromycin are among the drugs that can be used when the risk of infection is more dangerous than the risk of antibiotics. No matter what medication you are taking, first get your obstetrician’s approval.

In which periods of pregnancy should dental treatments be performed?

In addition to emergency procedures, only preventive procedures and dental cleaning can be performed in the first three months. The most ideal period for dental treatments is the second trimester, when the period of formation of the most critical body parts of the child is over, the risk is minimal. If the patient is comfortable, treatment can be continued in the third trimester.


What are the side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy in the mouth?

Applying such treatments, especially to the head and neck area, can have very serious consequences. In addition, this treatment can damage not only cancer cells, but also your own healthy cells (including intraoral tissues). The side effects seen in both forms of treatment are as follows: painful mouth and gums, ulcerations (wounds), burning sensation in your tongue, common caries, dry mouth, changes in taste, difficulty eating, talking and swallowing.

In addition, some people may develop infections that will lead to a delay in treatment. The best advice we can give someone who has been diagnosed with cancer is to see a dentist at least two weeks before starting treatment. The dentist will conduct a general examination, take the necessary X-rays, and then identify all infections and caries that can cause problems.

The most common problem in people complaining of dry mouth is caries, which occurs due to a decrease in the flow of saliva. In this case, fluoridated mouth waters will be useful in eliminating this problem. You can even recommend a fluoridated gel that is applied to the mouth with a special nozzle. To reduce the side effects of a dry mouth, it will be useful to stay away from sugary foods, chew ice, rinse your mouth often, chew sugar-free chewing gum, as it will also increase salivation.

Most of the time, as a result of cancer treatment, people may have a jaw and the patient cannot open their mouth too much. To prevent this, exercise should be done three times a day. It will be enough to repeat this movement 20 times, opening and closing the mouth so much that it does not cause pain.


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President of Organ Transplant Center at MedicalPark Hospital Antalya

Turkey's world-renowned organ transplant specialist. Dr. Demirbaş has 104 international publications and 102 national publications.

Physician's Resume:

Born on August 7, 1963 in Çorum, Prof. Dr. Alper Demirbaş has been continuing his work as the President of MedicalPark Antalya Hospital Organ Transplantation Center since 2008.

Prof. who performed the first tissue incompatible kidney transplant in Turkey, the first blood type incompatible kidney transplant, the first kidney-pancreas transplant program and the first cadaveric donor and live donor liver transplant in Antalya. Dr. As of August 2016, Alper Demirbaş has performed 4900 kidney transplants, 500 liver transplants and 95 pancreas transplants.

In addition to being the chairman of 6 national congresses, he has also been an invited speaker at 12 international and 65 national scientific congresses. Dr. Alper Demirbaş was married and the father of 1 girl and 1 boy.


Eczacibasi Medical Award of 2002, Akdeniz University Service Award of 2005, Izder Medical Man of the Year Award of 2006, BÖHAK Medical Man of the Year Award of 2007, Sabah Mediterranean Newspaper Scientist of the Year Award of 2007, ANTIKAD Scientist of the Year Award of 2009, Social Ethics Association Award of 2010, Işık University Medical Man of the Year Award of 2015, VTV Antalya's Brand Value Award of 2015.


Doctor of Medicine Degree Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine Ankara, General Surgeon Ministry of Health Turkey EKFMG (0-477-343-8), University of Miami School of Medicine Member of Multiple Organ Transplant, ASTS Multiorgan Transplant Scholarship. Lecturer at Kyoto University. Lecturer at University of Essen, Research assistant at the University of Cambridge .

Professional Members:

American Society of Transplant Surgeons, American Transplantation Society Nominated, Middle East and Southern Africa Council Transplantation Society 2007, International Liver Transplantation Association, Turkish Transplantation Association, Turkish Society of Surgery, Turkish Hepatobiliary Surgery Association.


Our website contents consist of articles approved by our Web and Medical Editorial Board with the contributions of our physicians. Our contents are prepared only for informational purposes for public benefit. Be sure to consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Medically Reviewed by Professor Doctor Alper Demirbaş
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