Oral cancer, commonly known as mouth cancer, is a form of cancer that develops inside the mouth. Oral cancer can look like a common condition with your lips or mouth, such as white spots or bleeding sores. The difference between a common condition and potential cancer is these changes don’t go away. Oral cancer is a serious condition that can spread from your mouth and throat to the rest of your head and neck if left untreated. Five years after diagnosis, around 63% of persons with oral cavity cancer are still living.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The common sign and symptoms include:
A sore in the mouth or on the lip that won’t heal
Abnormal growth or mass in the mouth
Unusual bleeding from the mouth
Pain or difficulty swallowing
Trouble wearing dentures
A lump in your neck
An earache that won’t go away
Dramatic weight loss
Lower lip, face, neck, or chin numbness
Red, red and white, or white spots in or on your mouth or lips
Factors that can maximize your risk of developing mouth cancer, include:
Use of any kind of Tobacco, such as cigars, pipes, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and snuff, among others
Heavy alcohol use
Excessive sun exposure to your lips
Human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection
A weakened immune system
Have a family history of oral cancer
Types of Oral Cancers
Cancers of the oral include the following:
Inner lining of your cheek
Floor of the mouth
Hard and soft palate
Your dental surgeon is often the first healthcare professional to notice signs of oral cancer. Having biannual dental visits can keep your dental surgeon up to date about your oral health.
Diagnosis of Oral Cancer
A physical examination will be conducted first by your cancer surgeon or dentist. The back of your throat, the roof and floor of your mouth, tongue, and cheeks, as well as the lymph nodes in your neck, will all be thoroughly examined. If your doctor is unable to determine why you are experiencing symptoms, you may be sent to an ENT expert.
If your doctor finds any tumours, suspicious lesions or unusual growths, they’ll perform a tissue biopsy or a brush biopsy. A brush biopsy is a painless procedure that collects cells from the tumour by brushing them onto a slide whereas tissue biopsy involves removing a piece of tissue so that it can be examined for cancer cells under a microscope.
In addition, your healthcare professional may conduct one or more of the following tests:
X-rays to check if cancer cells have spread to the jaw, lungs or chest
a CT scan to look for tumours in your mouth, neck, throat, lungs, or other parts of your body
a PET scan to see if cancer has spread to other organs or lymph nodes
an MRI scan to get a better picture of the head and neck and evaluate cancer's extent or stage.
an endoscopy to examine the nasal passages, windpipe, sinuses, inner throat, and trachea
Treatments of Oral Cancer
Treatment for oral cancer varies based on the type, stage, and location of cancer at the time of diagnosis.
Treatment for early stages often involves surgery to remove cancer and cancerous lymph nodes. In addition, other tissues in the mouth and neck may also be removed.
In this treatment, the doctor focuses radiation beams on the tumour once or twice a day, five days a week, for two to eight weeks. Treatment for advanced stages cancers will usually involve a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is a drug-based treatment that is used to destroy or kill cancer cells. You can take the drug orally or via an intravenous (IV) line. Although most patients receive chemotherapy as an outpatient, some do require hospitalisation.
It can be used to cure cancer in both initial and advanced stages. Drugs used in this therapy bind to specific proteins on cancer cells and prevent them from growing.
Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses medicines to help the body's immune system detect and destroy cancer cells more efficiently. It's also known as biological treatment, and it works on specific proteins involved in the immune system to enhance the immune response.
Nutrition plays an important role in the treatment of oral cancer. Several treatments make it difficult or painful to eat and swallow, and loos of appetite and weight are common.Make sure you discuss your diet plan with your healthcare provider.
A nutritionist can assist you in planning a meal menu that will be gentle on your tongue and throat while also providing your body with the calories, vitamins, and minerals it requires to recuperate.
Keeping your mouth healthy
Finally, keeping your mouth healthy while undergoing cancer treatment is important. You should keep your mouth moist and your teeth and gums clean.
Cancer Therapy India is among the best cancer hospital in Bangalore, having a team of experienced and skilled cancer surgeons in Bangalore who are experts in treating all types of oral cancer.