Oral Cancer

Cancer is the growth of cells out of control that attack and cause harm to surrounding tissue.

Oral cancer appears as a growth or wound in the mouth that stays long time and does not heal.

Oral cancer includes cancers of the;

  • lips,
  • tongue,
  • cheeks,
  • floor of the mouth,
  • hard palate,

Oral cancer can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

The most common symptoms of oral cancer are:

  • Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
  • The development of soft white, red, or spotted lesions in the mouth
  • Bleeding in the mouth without a reason
  • Felling numb, loss of feeling, pain or tenderness in any part of the face, mouth, neck, or ear without a reason
  • Permanent lesions on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed effortlessly and cannot heal in 2 weeks
  • Discomforts, pains, soreness in the back of the throat
  • Struggling while chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Gruffness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
  • Slurred speech
  • A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
  • Uncontrollable and fast weight loss
  • A tuber in the neck

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

  • Smoking any kind of cigars or tobaccos.
  • Smokeless tobacco users.
  • Extreme alcohol consumption.
  • Genetic factors; family history of cancer.
  • Excessive sun exposure (for lip cancer).
  • Bad eating habits.

Oral Cancer Treatment

Oral cancer is usually treated with surgery alone or radiation alone in the early stages.

In more advanced or aggressive cases, oral cancer treatment will include surgery and radiation together.

In the late stages of oral cancer, treatment will include surgery-radiation-chemotherapy together to attack to cancer more aggressively.

Ways to Prevent Oral Cancer

  • Don’t smoke or use any tobacco products.
  • Try not to drink or drink as little alcohol as possible.
  • Eat a healthy diet, try to eat vegetables with vitamin A as much as you can.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.
  • Use protection (condoms) while having oral sex.
  • Do not smoke marijuana.

Of course, these steps are not decreasing the oral cancer risk 100% but they may help you to reduce it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Oral Cancer

How does smoking affect oral cancer?

Tobacco use is the single most important risk factor in getting oral cancer. People who smoke or chew tobacco, dip snuff, or smoke pipes have a much higher chance of getting oral cancer than people who do not use tobacco. The more tobacco is used and the longer it’s used, the higher the risk.

Can oral cancer be prevented?

Ways to Prevent Oral Cancer

  • Don’t smoke or use any tobacco products.
  • Try not to drink or drink as little alcohol as possible.
  • Eat a healthy diet, try to eat vegetables with vitamin A as much as you can.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.
  • Use protection (condoms) while having oral sex.
  • Do not smoke marijuana.

How is oral cancer treated?

Most cases of oral cancer are curable. Many cases of oral cancer are treated with surgery. There are several types of surgery used. If major surgery is done, the surgeon may also rebuild parts of the oral cavity to preserve the appearance and function of the mouth.

Radiation therapy is also used to treat and cure oral cancer. It may be used with surgery. Chemotherapy may be used before or after surgery, or used alone when the cancer is diagnosed in a later stage. Effective chemotherapy can control further spread of the cancer.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

The most common symptom of oral cancer is pain, usually in the form of a non-healing sore which can appear white and/or red. A new lump in the neck that does not go away after several weeks can also be a sign of oral cancer.

What do I need to know about oral cancer surgery?

For oral cancer it is extremely important to remove the entire cancer with a rim of normal tissue all the way around it.

Removing some normal tissue reduces the chance of leaving a tiny part of the cancer behind.

Surgery for oral cancer is usually done in the operating room under general anesthesia.

If the cancer involves or comes close to the gums, the surgeon might have to remove teeth or a portion of the jaw bone to completely remove the cancer.