Posted in: Mouth / Oral Cancer by Dr. Tarang Krishna
What is mouth cancer?
Mouth Cancer, also known as oral cancer develops in the throat or mouth. It belongs to a larger group of cancer called head and neck. Mostly, it develops in the squamous cells found in the lips, mouth or tongue. Several number of oral cancer cases are detected each year occurring usually in people over 40 years. These are most often discovered after they spread to the lymph nodes of the neck. Early detection is a key to surviving oral cancer.
Mouth cancer occurs when cells in the lips or mouth develop changes in the DNA. These alterations allow the cancer cells to continue growing and dividing when the healthy cells would die. The abnormal cells can form a tumour. It may spread inside the mouth and other areas of the neck or the body. These usually begin in the flat, thin cells which line your lips and inside of the mouth. However, most oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. It is however not clear what causes the changes in the cells that cause mouth cancer.
Symptoms of oral cancer include :
1. A sore on the lip or mouth which won’t heal.
2. Bleeding from the mouth.
3. Loose teeth and pain/difficulty in swallowing.
4. Persistent earache, stiffness in the jaws and numbness in the face, neck and lower lip.
5. Weight loss.
6. White or red patches in or on your mouth and lips.
Some of these signs such as a sore throat and earache indicate other conditions. But, if you notice these signs and they don’t go or you have more than one at a time, visit the dentist or doctor as soon as possible.
One of the biggest risk factors for mouth cancer is tobacco use. It includes smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco. People who consume huge amounts of alcohol and tobacco are at an even greater risk if used regularly. Other risk factors are -
1. Chronic facial sun exposure.
2. Poor nutrition and weakened immune system
3. A family history of oral and other kinds of cancer
4. A previous diagnosis of oral cancer
5. HPV Infection
Men are twice as likely to get an oral cancer as women are.
Tests and procedures used to diagnose the mouth cancer include -
1. Physical exam - Your doctor or dentist examines the lips and mouth to look for abnormalities such sores and white patches.
2. Removal of tissue for testing - If a suspicious area is found, the doctor might remove the cells for a biopsy. Unusual cells may be removed using different techniques but are mostly cut with surgical tools. The cells are then analyzed for cancer which indicate risk.
Mouth Cancer Treatment
Mouth Cancer Treatment varies depending on the type, location, general health and stage of the cancer while diagnosis. In conventional treatment, it may be required to remove the outgrowth through a surgery, followed by radiation or chemotherapy to destroy the remaining cells. Cancer Healer Center, one of the best cancer hospital in India suggests immunotherapy as an effective mouth cancer treatment. It strengthens and restores the immune system’s ability to fight cancer and treat recurring and metastatic oral cancer without any side effects. The treatment can be taken in parallel with chemotherapy or radiotherapy; it helps in preventing the side effects of the same.