By Hope Imaka – EMTV Online
Oral Cancer, or mouth cancer, a type of head and neck cancer, is any cancerous tissue located in the oral cavity. It may arise as a primary abrasion originating in any of the tissue found in the mouth.
As a society that has a rather alarming rate of oral cancer patients, it is most important to be aware of the deadly disease.
Here is what you need to know about the cancer of the mouth.
Types of Oral Cancer
There are several types of oral cancer but the most common one is known as squamous cell carcinoma in which 90% of the world’s oral cancer patients are diagnosed with.
Squamous cell carcinoma – normally, the throat and mouth are lined with squamous cells, which are flat and arranged in a scale-like way. Squamous cell carcinoma means that some squamous cells are abnormal.
Verrucous carcinoma – a type of slow growing cancer made up of squamous cells. This type of oral cancer rarely spread to other parts of the body, but can invade the tissue surrounding the site of origin.
Minor Salivary Gland Carcinomas – this category includes several kinds of oral cancer that can develop on the minor salivary glands, which are found throughout the lining of the mouth and throat. These types include adenoid cystic carcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma.
Lymphomas – Oral cancers that develop in the lymph tissue, which is part of the immune system, are known as lymphomas.
Benign oral cavity and oropharyngeal tumors – several types of non-cancerous tumors and tumor-like conditions can arise in the oral cavity and oropharynx.
Tobacco and Betelenut Use – Chewing tobaccos and Betelnut increases risk.
Heavy Alcohol use
Too much sun exposure
Gender – men are about twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer
Age – risk rises in people over age 40
Toxic substances – exposure to environment toxins, such as asbestos, certain metals, wood, dust, paint fumes, and some industrial chemicals, can raise risk.
Stomach acid – even if you don’t have heartburn, acid rising from the stomach (Reflux) can harm throat tissues.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
- The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
- Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
- A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
- Ear pain
- A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
- Dramatic weight loss
If you notice any of these changes, contact your dentist or health care professional immediately.
Treatment of oral cancers is ideally a multidisciplinary approach involving the efforts of surgeons, radiation oncologists, chemotherapy oncologists, dental practitioners, nutritionists, and rehabilitation and restorative specialists.
There are three main options of treatment for oral cancer; these are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.