Cancer is the disease in which there is uncontrolled proliferation of cells that show invasion and damage to the normal tissue. Cancer in mouth is known as oral cancer. It includes cancer of lips, cheeks, tongue, floor of the mouth, soft and hard palate, pharynx and sinuses. It is a life threatening disease if it is not diagnosed and treated at right time. It appears as growth of tissues in the mouth.
Causes of Oral Cancer
There are many risk factors which are involved in the developmentof oral cancer. These are:
- Smoking : it is one of the most common risk factor which is involved in the development of oral cancer. Those who smoke cigarette, pipe or cigar are more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers.
- Smokeless tobacco users: use of smokeless tobacco like snuff, dip, or chewing tobacco products increases the risk 50 times more and leads to the development of cancer of lining of lips, gums and cheeks.
- Genetics: history of cancer in family predispose in the development of cancer.
- Alcoholconsumption: large consumption of alcohol is also one of the predisposing factors for the development of oral cancer.
- Excessive exposure of sun: this also leads to development of cancer especially when exposure occurs at the young age.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Symptoms of oral cancer includearea on the gums, lips or other mucosal surfaces inside the mouth. The sign and symptoms of oral cancer are:
- Thickening /swelling, formation of rough spots, formation of lumps or erosion of the mucosal lining inside the mouth, gums or lips.
- Formation of velvetyred, white or speckled patches inside the mouth.
- Bleeding on mucosal surfaces of the mouth.
- Numbness, loss of any sensation orpain in any area of mouth, face or neck.
- Development of sores in the mouth or on face or neck. The sores bleed easily and also take time to heal.
- Difficult in eating, chewing, swallowing, moving the jaw and speaking
- Loss of weight
- Pain in ear
- Chronic sore throat and hoarseness in voice
If these symptoms persist, then you should immediately contact your dentist.
Treatment of Oral Cancer
The treatment of oral cancer includes the same steps as many other cancer treatment. It includes:
- Chemotherapy: act as adjuvant to other treatment and remove remaining cancerous cells.
- Surgical procedures: to remove tumour growth
- Radiation therapy
Prevention of Oral Cancer
One must take precautions to prevent the development of oral cancer:
- Avoid using tobacco products and try to drink moderate amount of alcohol.
- Take balance and nutritious diet.
- Avoid getting too much exposed to sun. Use UV blocking protective lotions on the face when you go out in the sun.
- Visit your dentist regularly: this will help you in early diagnosis. Any kind of dangerous sores or spots in the mouth can be examined early. If cancer is detected early, then there is good prognosis.