According to the National Institute of Health, oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer globally. It occurs in the mouth, lips, tongue, gums, minor salivary glands, mouth roof, or lining of the lips.
Oral cancer can be diagnosed in numerous ways, for instance, physical examination, biopsy, endoscopy, HPV testing, X-ray examination, oral brush biopsy, etc. In this article, we will study the symptoms, causes, prevention, and treatment of oral cancer so that you can save yourself and the people around you. So, let’s begin.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The most common symptoms of oral cancer are listed below:
- Pain in the mouth.
- A mouth sore.
- Red or white patches appear in the gums.
- Changes in the voice.
- Swollen jaw.
- Bad breath.
- Trouble in chewing or moving the jaw and tongue.
- Weight loss.
- Lumps in the neck.
- Loose teeth.
Causes of Oral Cancer
A lot of factors contribute to the development of oral cancer. These include:
- Mouth Infections: Studies confirm that mouth infections accompanied by human papillomavirus (HPV) are one of the causes of oral cancer. HPV, along with tobacco, acts as a cocarcinogen (a chemical that promotes the production of cancer).
- Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle factors also contribute to the development of oral cancer. For example, drinking alcohol, smoking, chewing tobacco or betel nut, etc.
- Contribution of the Neck or Head cancer: People who had neck or head cancer in the past have an increased risk of developing oral cancer.
- Changes in the Cell’s DNA: If the cells in the mouth or lips develop changes (also called mutations) in their DNA, the risk of developing oral cancers increases.
How to Prevent Oral Cancer?
The prevention techniques for oral cancer are:
- Visit your dentist regularly (at least once a month).
- Stop tobacco usage. If you have not tried it yet; then, do not start. Whether chewed or in smoked form, tobacco exposes the cells in the mouth to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals.
- Stop using alcohol and instead have a healthy activity to soothe your mind.
- Protect the skin of your lips by avoiding excessive sun exposure.
Several treatment options are available for oral cancer depends on how far cancer has progressed and individual needs. To avoid the further spread of cancer, doctors perform surgery. However, mostly it is accompanied by radiation and chemotherapy to destroy the remaining cancerous cells. Certain chemo drugs are also prescribed to patients with or without radiation.
Please remember, oral cancer is a serious condition that requires the attention of your doctor and yourself. If you take good care of your oral health and regularly visit a dentist, your risk of getting the disease can significantly decrease.
If detected early, the survival rate of oral cancer increases to 75 percent, 20% more from when detected late. Therefore, please do not ignore the symptoms; visit your doctor at the earliest.
*Neither this nor any other content in this media is meant to prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. We highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition.