Oral cancer is cancer that appears as a growth or sore in the mouth. Oral Cancer is a part of a larger group of diseases called head and neck cancers. These tissues develop in the squamous cells found in your mouth, cheeks, tongue, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat) and lips. If left untreated, it can be lethal.
It would help if you visited your doctor for preliminary diagnosis and treatment because early detection is the key to recovering from oral cancer.
Causes for Developing Oral Cancer
Tobacco use is one of the most significant risk factors for oral cancer. This also includes smoking cigars, cigarettes, and pipes, as well as chewing tobacco. Additionally, people who consume alcohol and tobacco regularly are at even more substantial risk.
Other risk factors include:
human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
chronic facial sun exposure
a previous diagnosis of oral cancer
a family history of oral or any different types of cancer
a weakened immune system
Being male- men are known to get it twice as likely as women.
Symptoms of oral cancer
Following are the symptoms:
a mass or growth present anywhere in your mouth
bleeding from your mouth
a sore on your mouth or lip that won’t heal
pain or difficulty swallowing
trouble wearing dentures
a lump in your neck
an earache that won’t go away
Significant weight loss
Numbness in the face, lower lip, neck
white, red and white, or red patches in or on your mouth or lips
a sore throat
jaw pain or stiffness
However, some of these symptoms, such as an earache or sore throat, may indicate other conditions. If you find that one of these symptoms persist, visit, and consult your doctor.
The doctor may advise the following tests and procedures to diagnose mouth cancer:
Physical exam: Your doctor or dentist will examine the roof and floor of your mouth, the back of your throat, tongue, and cheeks, and the lymph nodes in your neck for abnormalities.
Removal of tissue for testing (biopsy): If the doctor finds any suspicious tumours, growths or lesions, then the doctor or dentist may remove a sample of cells for laboratory testing in a procedure called a biopsy. The doctor will remove a sample away from the tissue by a needle, so it can be examined under a microscope for cancerous cells.
Treatment for Oral Cancer
The doctor will determine your treatment for oral cancer on the type, location, and stage of cancer at diagnosis.
Surgery: The surgeon will remove the tumour and cancerous lymph nodes. Other tissue around the mouth and neck may also be removed.
Radiation therapy: This treatment is used for advanced stages in oral cancer. The doctor focuses radiation beams at the tumour once or twice a day, five days a week, for two to eight weeks.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is implemented to kill cancer cells. The medicine is provided to you either orally or through an intravenous (IV) line. Chemotherapy drugs can be used in combination with other cancer treatments.
Targeted therapy: Targeted drug therapy is effective in both early and advanced stages of cancer. It alters specific aspects of cancer cells that stimulate their growth. These drugs will bind to particular proteins on cancer cells and interfere with their growth.
Recovering from oral cancer treatment
Recovery from oral cancer will vary from person to person and the type of treatment. Post-surgery can involve pain and swelling. However, if small tumours are excised, it will have no associated chronic problems.
When large tumours are removed, they can hamper your ability to swallow, chew, or talk as well as you did before the surgery.
Reconstruction and Rehabilitation after Oral Cancer Treatment
For rebuilding the bones and tissues in your face removed during surgery, you might also need reconstructive surgery and some rehabilitation to assist with eating and speaking during recovery. To repair the missing bones and tissues in the mouth or face, dental implants and grafts are utilized. To replace any lost tissue or teeth, artificial palates are used.
You might also need speech therapy until you achieve the maximum level of improvement.
Follow the following lifestyle changes for prevention.