Oral Cancer In the human body, occasionally there is an unusual and uncontrolled growth of certain cells or tissues. This can lead to cancer or carcinoma. When this occurs in the mouth or oral cavity, it is known as mouth cancer or oral cancer. Usually, this is seen as growth inside the mouth. Oral cancer is one of the many forms of cancer falling in the category of head and neck cancers.
Where can Mouth Cancer occur?
The following cancers are considered part of mouth cancer:
- The inner lining of cheeks- also known as buccal mucosa
- Floor of the mouth (under the tongue)
- Soft and hard palate
Epidemiology of Oral Cancer
The characteristics of such patients depend on their:
- Age: Although mouth cancer can affect younger people too, mostly people above 55 years are affected.
- Gender: The disease is more common in men than women. It is primarily because of the use of tobacco and alcohol.
Types of Mouth Cancer / Oral Cancer
Based on the origin of cells, mouth cancer can be classified as:
- Squamous cell carcinoma: This is the most common type and froms the diagnosis for more than 90% of oral cancer cases. Squamous cells are flat, fish scales type appearing cells present in the outer layer of external and internal organs. An abnormal growth of these cells in the oral cavity can be categorized as squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth.
- Melanoma if the oral cavity: Melanocytes are milanin producing alls in the body. Cancer of Melanocytes in the oral cavity is lateral as melanoma of oral cavity.
- Lymphoma: This affect the lymphoid tissue, which form a part of the immune system. Base of tongue and tonsils both contain lymphoid tissue.
- Minor salivary gland carcinomas: These develop in multiple sites like floor of mouth, tongue and buccal mucosa.
- Verrucous carcinoma: This is a rarely occurring and slow-growing type of cancer, generally seen in the tobacco-chewing population. It mainly affects males.
Causes & Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
- Mutation in the genetic pattern or coding.
- Gum disease.
- Poor oral hygiene.
- Chewing betel nut and tobacco, gutka.
- Uncontrolled alcohol consumption.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) – Mainly for oropharynx carcinoma
- In fitting dentures / sharp tooth.
Signs and Symptoms of
Symptoms of oral cancer may include:
- Non-healing ulcer.
- A whitish or reddish patch.
- Pain over the affected area leading to difficulty in mouth opening, reduce mouth opening.
- Pain in the ear.
- Swelling or pain the jaw
- Pain while swallowing, difficulty in swallowing.
- Changes in speech.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Loose teeth.
- Bleeding from oral cavity
Consult a dentist or a healthcare professional if you notice any of the above signs.
Diagnostic Tests for Mouth Cancer
Clinician will examine the oral cavity to look for ulcer, white or red patches which are called leukoplakia & erythroplakia respectively or a cauliflower like growth.
Biopsy if needed will be done. In this, a tissue sample from the tumor is collected and sent to the laboratory for microscopic analysis.
Imaging and other additional tests for evaluation like endoscopy, X-ray, PET scan, CT and MRI scans shall be done to determine the extent of disease and to plan treatment.
Possible Treatment Options for Oral Cancer
Treatment of mouth cancer depends on the type of cancer, its location and the extent to which it has spread. An oncologist is a specialist who handles cancer treatment. With the help of diagnostic methods, your doctor can determine the stage of cancer. It helps to plan the best possible course of treatment, which can be:
- Surgery: Robotic surgeries and advanced camera-assisted surgeries besides conventional open surgeries are done for the excision or removal of tumours from the oral cavity. Sometimes, dental extraction and removal of part of the jaw bones are also required. Depending on the stage of cancer, lymph nodes may also need removal.
- Chemotherapy: It involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments.
- Radiation therapy: High-energy beams, kill the cancer cells. It can be beneficial in treating early stage oral.
- Immunotherapy: Cancer cells produce proteins, which disrupt the functioning of your immune system. Hence, your body fails to fight against this disease. Immunotherapy interferes with this process. This is a recently developed mocality of treatment.
- Palliative care: Doctors advise palliative care as it helps to alleviate the symptoms of cancer in advanced stages.
- Early stage oral cancers are usually treated with a single modality ot treatment whereas advanced cancers require multimodality treatment approach. Follow your oncologist’s advice and follow up diligently as recommended.
Primary Prevention of
The primary preventive ways include the following:
- Reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and betel nut: It can have a positive impact on the prevention and reduction in the indence of mouth cancers.
- Dental evaluation: Get at least one dental examination every year.
- Avoiding sun exposure: Follow a proper sun protection regimen.
- Awareness about symptoms: Identifying the warning signs is essential.
Secondary Prevention of
It can include:
- Regular screening: It helps in detecting the early signs of mouth cancer.
- Self-examination: Take a mirror and examine your lips, gums, inside your cheeks and mouth, regularly.
- Oral cavity examination by oncologists: Cancer experts recommend this to prevent a relapse. Patients with hsitory of cancer.
Oral cancer, cancer of the oral cavity, oral cavity cancer.
Expected Prognosis of
Overall, the five-year survival rate for oral cancer patients with an early diagnosis is about 84 per cent. However, if cancer has spread to nearby organs, tissues, or lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate drops to 65 per cent. Also, your prognosis depends on the rate at which cancer grows and the type of cancer & stage at which it is detected.
Our BLK-Max Medical Experts
If you are facing any similar signs or symptoms please contact the BLK-Max team to schedule an appointment at : +91-11-30403040