The oral cavity is one of the most important parts of your body, which is involved in speech & swallowing. The oral cavity is complex and consists of lips, gums, teeth, tongue, inside of the cheeks and palate. Oral cancer, also known as squamous cell carcinoma, can strike anywhere in the front portion of your mouth. There is an uncontrolled growth of surface cells in case of oral cancer. You should know why oral cancer is so widespread and what are the outcomes if it's not diagnosed early.
An Overview of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is the anomalous growth of cells in a particular area of the oral cavity. It is sometimes referred to head and neck cancer. Mouth cancer generally takes place past the age of 40, and men become twice as vulnerable as women.
Oral cancer frequently appears up as a new or constant sore in the mouth. It can be fatal if not detected and treated early. Dentists are usually the foremost healthcare providers to observe or detect this type of cancer.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
As with different types of cancer, the oral cancer symptoms may differ from person to person. There are many obvious signs and symptoms of oral cancer. Among the most regular symptoms of oral cancer are mouth sores, unbearable pain in your mouth that gets prolonged and persistent, and many more. Oral cancer may also be visible as white or red patches on the gums, tonsil, or mouth lining.
Other symptoms include:
- Swelling in the neck
- A lump in the cheek
- Trouble swallowing or chewing
- Experience as something being trapped in the throat
Causes and Risk Factors
With the latest studies and research on cancer, scientists now consider that cancers commence with degradation or mutations in the genetic code responsible for monitoring cell growth and expiry.
Following factors are believed to enhance the risk of oral cancer development:
Smoking tobacco or chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer.
Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of oral cancer and the risk becomes manifold for people who use both tobacco and alcohol.
Cancers that are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) are mostly seen at the rear of the throat, the floor of the tongue, and inside the tonsils.
When your lips get undue exposure to sun rays, it enhances the risk of oral cancer.
Other risk factors for oral cancer include exposure to radiation, people over 45 years of age and having an existing head and neck cancer.
Treatment Options for Oral Cancer
There are diverse treatment choices for oral cancer. Your doctor will recommend the most suitable type of treatment for you, taking into consideration several factors that include cancer type, its location and to what extent it has advanced.
The goal of initial stage treatment is normally to cure it. In advanced stages, the focus may be to check further development and help remove any symptoms such as pain or trouble eating, speaking, or swallowing.
The three most common oral cancer treatments are as follows:
Radiotherapy aim high-vitality radiation beams at the cancerous tissues in order to destroy the cancer cells and stop further growth or spread.
The two types of radiotherapy used for oral cancer include:
- External Beam Radiotherapy
In this method, the radiation beam is aimed at the affected area from a machine that is outside the body. This is the most popular technique for almost all types of oral cancer.
- Internal Radiotherapy
It's also called brachytherapy and involves placing tiny radioactive wires or beads near the affected area for some time and then removing them.
The most widely accepted oral cancer treatment is surgery. The operation might eliminate cancer and a part of surrounding tissue.
In some instances, when the cancer is extremely advanced, surgery is performed to provide relief from the symptoms accompanying the cancerous growth. This is called palliative surgery. The surgeries are all performed while you remain under the influence of a general analgesic.
Chemotherapy treatment involves medication to kill cancer cells or help keep them from growing back. Chemotherapy is either used in combination with surgery or radiotherapy or in some cases as a single line of treatment.