We have always thought about Oral Cancer is a severe and life-threatening disease but how often do we take this seriously? We all know what hazards it will cause and how will it affect the life of the people and those who are connected with them.
Oral canscer as the name suggests is the cancer of the mouth and throat. Cancer of the mouth includes lips, tongue, the inner lining of the cheeks, gums and even floor of the mouth.
The main issue with this is that a person might not know about such an issue and will get to know only when they visit a dentist. Only a dentist is able to detect the same.
Risk factors of the Oral Cancer
As we all know the biggest risk factor of developing an Oral Cancer is the use of tobacco, either smokeless tobacco or cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. If a person is a regular consumer of any of these, then the chances of developing the Cancer of Mouth is quite high.
Though these are the major risk factors, yet there are other factors which should also be considered such as:
- Genetic Syndrome
- Exposure to sun
- Weak immune system
- Poor Nutrition
- HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Infection
- Family History
All these factors add on to the chances of getting Oral Cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
It cannot be detected by a person in the very early stages as the symptoms are not visible. But once it exceeds the symptoms that will appear are:
- Non-Healing sores in the mouth
- Red and white patches in the mouth
- Pain and stiffness in the jaw
- Sore Throat
- Tongue pain
- Loose teeth
- Trouble wearing dentures
Not necessary that if any such conditions exist in your mouth then you are suffering from cancer. But it is really important to get it checked from the dentist nearby. He/she is the right person who can let you know the right reasons behind the same.
These signs and symptoms should never be ignored. This is because even though they are not causing any harm today, they can prove to be hazardous in the future just because of the meager ignorance.
Diagnosis of Oral Cancer
Having these signs and symptoms is a clear-cut sign that you need to visit a dentist. Once you are there, your dentist will guide you well. There are two ways of diagnosing mouth cancer such as:
- Physical Exam – This includes the examination of your lips, cheeks, throat, neck and lymph nodes. He /she will closely examine the areas of irritation and will deeply look into the soreness and patchiness on the surface to understand why it is so and how can this be treated well.
- Tissue Biopsy – Also known as brush biopsy is performed by the dentist when they find suspicious lesions or signs of tumor in your mouth. In this, your dentist removes a piece of tissue to examine under your microscope. The sample is then sent in the laboratory for testing and is analyzed for precancerous lesions indicating the risk of oral cancer in the future.
Treatment of Oral Cancer
The treatment depends upon the type and stage of cancer you are in. There are chances that you need to undergo a variety of treatments. Once you look for a dental clinic near me options, you will get to know the following treatments:
Surgery – The initial stages of oral cancer involves surgical treatment. in this, the dentist will completely remove the cancerous lymph nodes. In case cancer has spread to the neck, the cancerous nodes will be removed which will prevent cancer from spreading.
The surgeries, however, have various disadvantages such as:
- Affects the appearance
- Affects the ability to speak
- Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
- Radiation Therapy
Radiation Therapy – The radiation therapy uses the high energy beams which help to kill the cancer cells. This is done once or twice a day or five days a week for the next two to eight weeks. The radiation therapy is mostly done after the surgery but if the case is detected in the early stages, then only radiation will work well.
In case, the condition of your mouth cancer worsens, then the radiation therapy is done along with chemotherapy. The advantage of this is that it helps in getting relief from signs and symptoms that have been caused due to pain.
The disadvantages of radiation therapy are as follows:
- Dry mouth
- Tooth decay
- Damage to jawbone
- Bleeding gums
Chemotherapy – Cancer that has reached its maximum limit and is widespread lead to chemotherapy. This along with radiation therapy is effective especially if the chances of cancer returning is high. Chemotherapy is basically a powerful medicine which damages the DNA of cancer cells.
Chemotherapy has various adverse effects such as:
- Vomiting hair loss
- Weak immune system
- Targeted Drug Therapy
Targeted Drug Therapy – There are some specific aspects that help cancer cells to grow. Targeted drugs alter these aspects and prevent them from growing. The targeted drugs are used to treat mouth cancer in certain situations. For instance, Cetuximab is used specifically for head and neck cancer.
The adverse effects of the same are:
- Skin rash
To be sure that you are healthy, and your mouth does not show any telltale signs of cancer visit a dental hospital or a nearest dental clinic
Also Read –