What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer refers to cancer that originates in the tissues of the mouth and throat. It includes cancers of the lips, tongue, palate, gums, cheeks, and floor of the mouth. It can also begin in the lining of the lips, the roof of the mouth, and salivary glands. Early diagnosis helps in the effective treatment of the disease.
Bones, teeth, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, salivary glands, and mucosa
Causes of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is caused by a variety of factors:
- Smoking: People who smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes are six times more likely than nonsmokers to get oral malignancies.
- Tobacco: Use of smokeless tobacco products (such as dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco) increases the risk of malignancies of the cheek, gums, and lip lining.
- Excessive alcohol intake: Oral cancer is six times more likely in drinkers than in non-drinkers.
- Family history: Cancer runs in the family.
- Exposure to sun: Prolonged exposure to the sun may cause cancer of the lips.
Oral Cancer Signs or Symptoms
The following are some of the most prevalent indications and symptoms:
- Swellings/thicknesses, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded regions on the lips, gums, or other parts inside the mouth
- Velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches appear in the mouth
- Bleeding in the mouth for no apparent reasons
- Unknown cause of numbness, loss of sensation, or pain/tenderness in any part of the face, mouth, or neck
- Sores on the face, neck, or lips that bleed readily and do not heal in two weeks
- A hurting throat or the sensation that something is lodged in the back of the throat
- Difficulties in chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
- Hoarseness, persistent sore throat, or voice alterations
- A change in the fit of the teeth or dentures—a change in the "bite"
- Significant weight reduction
Possible Treatment Available For Oral Cancer
Early-stage treatment generally entails surgery to remove the tumor and malignant lymph nodes. Other issues surrounding the lips and neck may also have to be removed.
Another alternative is radiation treatment. A doctor will direct radiation beams at the tumor once or twice a day for two to eight weeks, five days a week. Advanced stages of this cancer are often treated with a mix of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Chemicals are used in chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells. The medication is administered either orally or via an intravenous (IV) line. While the majority of people get chemotherapy as outpatients, some may require hospitalization.
Another type of treatment is targeted therapy. It has the potential to be useful in both the early and late stages of cancer. Targeted treatment medications attach to particular proteins on cancer cells, preventing them from growing.
Nutrition is an essential component of oral cancer therapy. Many therapies make eating and swallowing difficult or uncomfortable, and reduced appetite and weight loss are frequent side effects. Reviewing the nutritional requirements of patients becomes important.
Finally, maintaining good oral health during cancer therapy is critical. Teeth and gums should be kept clean and moist.
Associated Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
- Tobacco use is one of the most significant risk factors for mouth cancer. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes, as well as chewing tobacco, fall under this category.
- People who drink a lot of alcohol and smoke a lot of cigarettes are at a higher risk, especially if they use both things regularly.
Other risk factors are as follows:
- Chronic sun exposure
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
- A history of oral cancer
- A family history of oral or other forms of cancer
- A compromised immune system
- Poor nutrition
- Genetic disorders
- Gender: More men than women are at risk of developing mouth cancer
Typical Tests For Oral Cancer
Several tests can be used to diagnose oral and oropharyngeal cancers:
- Examination of the body: During clinical examinations, dentists and physicians frequently discover lip and oral cavity malignancies
- Oral brush biopsy
- Modified barium swallows (MBS)
- Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan
Since this is a lifestyle disease, primary prevention involves lifestyle modifications:
- Maintaining fitness through physical activity or weight management
- Ceasing smoking to promote healthy mucosa and tissues
- Tobacco cessation
- Alcohol cessation
- HPV vaccine
- Avoiding excessive sun exposure
- Secondary prevention includes screening for oral cancer early identification. Oral cancer screening can come in a variety of forms. Premalignant and early oral malignancies can be detected early with clinical examination and biopsy.
- Radiotherapy and chemotherapy
Squamous cell carcinomas account for more than 90% of all oral cavity malignancies. The lining of the oral cavity, often known as the mucosa, is made up of squamous cells. Tumors of the salivary glands, such as adenoid cystic carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and other salivary gland malignancies, are also less prevalent types of oral cancer.
Cancer of the lips, oral cavity, and pharynx; and mouth cancer
- Actinic keratosis: If the patient has a lump on the vermilion border of the lips
- Erythroplasia: A brightly colored, smooth, red patch commonly present on the floor of the mouth, the oropharynx region, and the lateral border of the tongue.
- Lichen planus: Bilateral or symmetric reticular alterations in the oral cavity, with or without ulcers and erythema.
- Lichenoid tumors: A single white reticular and/or ray-like area with erythema and/or ulceration of unclear origin close to dental material such as amalgam.
- Candidiasis of the mucosa
- Lesion caused by trauma: Appearing near a sharp or damaged tooth.
Every year, over 77,000 new cases and 52,000 fatalities, accounting for almost one-fourth of global occurrences, are recorded in India. The rising number of instances of oral cancer, which is one of the most frequent kinds of cancer in India, is something to seriously worry about regarding community health.
Survival rates for oral and oropharyngeal cancer vary greatly depending on the disease's origin and extent. People with oral or oropharyngeal cancer have a 5-year survival rate of 66%. Black individuals have a 5-year survival rate of 50%, whereas white people have a 68% survival rate.
Oral cancers frequently present late because they are painless and can go unnoticed by the patient. They eventually manifest as non-healing ulcers that grow over time. Nodal metastases are prevalent at the time of diagnosis due to considerable lymphatic drainage of the mouth cavity.
Oral squamous cell carcinoma develops as a result of uncontrolled growth of mucous basal cells. A single precursor cell is converted into a clone with numerous daughter cells and an accumulation of mutated genes known as oncogenes.
Mouth cancer and its treatment can result in a variety of issues, including changes in your mouth's appearance, trouble swallowing (dysphagia), and speech impairments. These side effects might occasionally result in emotional issues and disengagement from regular life.
Our Medical Oral Cancer Treatment in Mumbai, India Experts
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