Oral Cancer: Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, is a type of head and neck cancer.Oral cancer can occur anyplace in the mouth, on the surface of the tongue, the lips, in the gums, inside the cheek, in the roof and floor of the mouth, in the tonsils, and in the salivary glands.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Symptoms of mouth cancer include:
- Sore mouth ulcers that don’t recover within several weeks
- Unexplained, constant lumps in the mouth that don’t go away
- Unexplained, constant lumps in the neck that don’t go away
- Unexplained looseness of teeth, or sockets that don’t heal following extractions
- Unexplained, constant numbness or an odd feeling on the lip or tongue
- Occasionally, white or red patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue – these can be first signs of cancer, so they should also be investigated
- Variations in speech, such as a lisp
Types of Oral Cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most frequent type of mouth cancer, estimating for 9 out of 10 cases.
Squamous cells are seen in many places around the body, including the inside of the mouth and the skin.
Less frequent types of mouth cancer include:
Adenocarcinomas – cancers that occur in the salivary glands
Sarcomas – these grow from irregularities in the bone, muscle cartilage, or other body tissue
Oral malignant melanomas – where the cancer begins in melanocytes, the cells that create skin pigment; they seem as very dark, mottled swellings that often bleed
Lymphomas – these grow from cells frequently found in lymph glands, but can also happen in the mouth.
Causes of Mouth Cancer
Cancer results while a genetic mutation instructs cells to spread without control. Mouth cancers typically start in the squamous cells that line the lips and the inside of the mouth. This is designated squamous cell carcinoma.
The specific cause of the mutations is unknown, but there is evidence that certain risk factors enhance the chance of mouth cancer developing.
Drinking alcohol – people who drink and smoke heavily have a much higher risk compared with the population at large
Smoking or using other forms of tobacco
Contamination with the human papillomavirus (HPV) – HPV is the virus that induces genital wart.
Diagnosis of Mouth Cancer
A biopsy may be carried out, whither? a small specimen of tissue is taken to check for cancerous cells. If mouth cancer is diagnosed, the next job is to determine the stage of cancer.
- Endoscopy, where a lighted scope is crossed down the patient’s throat to see how far cancer has developed
- Imaging tests, such as X-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Computed Tomography (CT) scans Staging cancer will inform treatment options and further predict prognosis
Cancers are often staged in the following way:
- Stage 1: The tumor is 1 inch across and should not reach nearby lymph nodes
- Stage 2: The tumor is 1 to 2 inches and has not spread nearby lymph nodes
- Stage 3: Either the tumor is above 2 inches across but has not spread, or it has spread to one nearby lymph node on the corresponding side of the neck as the tumor, and the lymph node is not then 1 inch across
- Stage 4: cancer affects tissues throughout the mouth, lips, and probably nearby lymph nodes; or it has developed to the rest of the body
Treatment of Mouth Cancer
There are three principal treatment options for mouth cancer:
Surgery – wherever the cancerous cells are surgically extracted, accompanying with a tiny bit of the surrounding normal tissue or cells to ensure the cancer is entirely removed
Radiotherapy – where powerful-energy X-rays are utilized to kill cancerous cells
Chemotherapy – where strong medications are used to destroy cancerous cells
These treatments are often used in incorporation. For example, surgery may be accompanied by a course of radiotherapy to help prevent cancer returning.
Preventing Mouth Cancer
The effective ways of preventing mouth cancer are:
Securing you don’t drink more than the suggested weekly limits for alcohol
Eating a healthy diet that includes an abundance of fresh vegetables – especially tomatoes – and citrus fruits, olive oil, and fish.