Cancer is defined as an uncontrolled multiplication and division of abnormal cells. These cells destroy the normal and healthy cells resulting in the death of the patient. There are more than 100 kinds of cancer. Oral cancer is a significant problem throughout the world.
Causes of Oral Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer as compared women. Moreover, men over the age of 50 face the greatest risk.
- Smoking- Studies show smokers are at a risk of five times greater than non-smokers of developing oral cancer.
- Chewing tobacco
- Alcohol Consumption
- Excessive sun exposure – often on lips
- GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease)
- Exposure to certain chemicals- like asbestos, sulphuric acid, and formaldehyde
- Diet- people who eat lots of red meat, processed food, fried food are more prone to develop oral cancer
- HPV( Human Papillomavirus) Infection.
- Prior radiation treatment in the head and or neck region
The staging system for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer
The stage of cancer depends on how big it is and the severity of growth. Staging cancer helps the doctor to design a proper line of treatment.
TNM stages of mouth and oropharyngeal cancers
TNM meaning Tumour, Node, and Metastasis.
- The size of a primary tumor (T)
- Cancer involving the lymph nodes (N)
- Cancer spreads to other parts of the body (M)
Another system of cancer severity is number stages. The stages begin from stage 0 and progress to stage 4. The stage elevates depending on the size of a tumor.
Symptoms of oral cancer
Mouth ulcers or sores are the most common symptoms of mouth cancer. These ulcers do not heal easily and the pain does not reduce. However, there are other symptoms which can detect oral cancer.
- Unusual bleeding and numbness in the mouth
- Pain while chewing food
- A feeling of substance in the throat
- Weight loss
- A lump in the neck
- Change in voice
- Speech problems
- Loose teeth or dentures
Just like other types of cancers, oral cancer can be treated with surgery to remove the cancerous growth. This procedure is followed by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.
- Avoid tobacco consumption, smoking, and alcohol intake.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Limit exposure to the sun. Repeated exposure increases the risk of cancer of lips.
- Regular screening of your oral cavity from health professionals.