Mouth cancer is an intensive growth of cancerous cells that invade and damage the tissues of the mouth and jaw region. Also called as oral cancer, it appears as a sore in the mouth and does not go away with over-the-counter or prescription. Oral cancer includes cancer of gums, lips, the floor of the mouth, tongue, the inner lining of the cheek, and hard and soft palate in the mouth. Here are discussed the causes, symptoms, and treatment for oral cancer.
Some of the common reasons for the growth of cancerous cells in the mouth are:
If you are a cigarette, pipe or cigar smoker, you are six times more likely to develop oral cancer.
Approximate 25 percent of oral cancers occur in non-smokers who consume alcohol occasionally.
Excessive Exposure to Sun
The chances of oral cancer increases, especially at a young age with unprotected exposure to the sun.
Other than these, smokeless tobacco users and those with a family history of cancer are at the higher risk of developing the disease. Also, men are twice as likely to get mouth cancer as women.
The most common symptoms of mouth cancer are:
●Swelling, crusts, lumps or eroded areas on gums, lips and the other regions in the mouth
●White or red patches in the mouth
●Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
●Numbness, pain or loss of feeling in mouth, neck or face
●Sores on neck, mouth or face that bleed and do not heal in 2 weeks
●Pain in ear
●Unexplained weight loss
●A chronic sore throat, hoarseness or voice change
●A problem in swallowing or chewing and speaking
Mouth Cancer Treatment
A doctor decides the course of oral cancer treatment based on the location and stage of the disease. The health of the patient and personal preference are considered while making a decision.
Surgery involves removal of the tumor and a few healthy tissues around it to prevent any chances of the cells spreading to other areas of the mouth. If the tumor is small, it will need minor surgery. A major surgery might be required if there is a need to remove some part of the tongue or jawbone to halt the spread of the cancerous cells.
Radiation therapy involves the use of high energy Xray beams or radiation particles to damage the DNA in the tumor cell. It destroys the ability of tumor cells to multiply.
The therapy is performed on patients who are at the early stage of cancer of the tongue. The doctor uses a radioactive wire or needle to attack by releasing a dose of radiation inside the tumor. The treatment is performed for 1-8 days under general anesthesia.
Radiation therapy could be sufficient for oral cancer treatment in the early stages. Doctors can, however, recommend a combination of surgery, chemotherapy or both to ensure that cancer doesn’t reoccur.
If the cancer is widespread, doctors might recommend chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The procedure of chemotherapy involves using strong medicines to damage the DNA of cancerous cells. The therapy has adverse effects such as vomiting, fatigue, hair loss and a weakened immune system.
Mouth cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting the masses. One of the best ways to avoid the disease is to have a healthy lifestyle and to refrain from alcohol or tobacco consumption. Also, visit a dentist regularly, as they are usually the first to notice signs of cancer and can help you in getting rid of the disease at an early stage.