Oral Cancer: Everything you need to know about it!
What do you mean by oral cancer?
Oral cancer, also called oral cavity cancer, develops in the parts of the mouth like lips, gums, floor, the roof of the mouth, and the inner lining of the cheeks. Oral cancer also occurs in the oropharynx. This cancer comes in the category of head and mouth cancer.
What happens in oral cancer?
When a person has oral cancer, he has lips and mouth sores. Unfortunately, these sores do not cure. However, doctors can easily cure oral cancer at an early stage. But people ignore the signs and go at a much later stage. Oral cancer is the most common type of head and neck cancer. And if people do not treat it within time, it spreads to the entire mouth, throat, and other parts of the head and neck.
What are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer?
The following are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer-
- Sores in the mouth, tongue, lips, cheek lining, and back of the throat. These soars do not heal with time.
- Change in voice.
- Problems in chewing and swallowing food.
- White or red patches appear in the parts of the mouth.
- Pain in the jaw.
- Swelling in the gums.
- A lump usually forms on the cheek, tongue, or lips.
- Pain in the ear.
- Unexplained loss of weight.
- Loss of teeth.
- Pain around the teeth.
- A problem in moving the tongue and jaw.
- Numbness in the areas of the mouth.
- Bleeding in the mouth.
What causes oral cancer? And what are the risk factors for oral cancer?
Cells on the lips and mouth mutate themselves. These mutations keep growing, and the healthy cells keep dying. And eventually, these cells form a tumor.
There are certain risk factors that can increase the chance of mouth cancers-
- Cigarette and Tobacco- Most patients have oral cancer because of long-term consumption of cigarettes and tobacco. The ones who smoke cigarettes or consume tobacco in the form of snuffs or chewing tobacco are more likely to develop oral cancers. Smoking affects the throat and the mouth. And chewing tobacco affects the cheeks and the gums.
- Gutka or Betel quid- People in India are very fond of gutkas and betel quid. Betel quid is made out of betel nut, lime, and some spices. At the same time, gutka is a blend of tobacco and betel quid. People who chew these two things are at a higher risk of having oral cancer.
- Alcohol- Drinking alcohol in large quantities can irritate the cells. These make the cells susceptive to oral cancer. Therefore, you must balance your drinking habits and consume alcohol within your limits.
- HPV infection: HPV, or Human Papillomavirus infection, is a group of more than a hundred and fifty viruses. These viruses are common in people who have multiple sexual partners. Oral sex is the most common way of spreading HPV. HPV can lead to oral cancer in the tongue and back of the throat.
- Age- Oral cancer can develop at any age. But except for the HPV virus, oral cancers are not very common in younger people. Usually, people above the age of 55 years develop this type of cancer. It is because this cancer takes a lot of time to develop. Therefore, younger people usually do not have it.
- Gender: The chances of getting Oral and oropharyngeal cancers are more common in males than females.
- Weak immunity system and lower nutritional diet- People who have weak immunity and do not eat a balanced diet are also at risk of oral cancer. Therefore, we must have a balanced diet that includes all the essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbs.
- Ultraviolet rays- The UV rays are harmful to us. These rays can assist in causing oral cancer. Oral cancer on the lips is prevalent due to the detrimental effects of ultraviolet rays.
How many stages are there in oral cancer?
There are four stages of oral cancer-
- The first stage- The tumor is not more than two cms in this stage. There is no spread of tumors in the lymph nodes. And the cancer cells look not very different from the normal cells.
- The second stage- The tumor grows in size to about four centimeters long during stage two of oral cancer.
- The third stage- The tumor might be larger than four centimeters during this stage. It may even spread to one of the lymph nodes.
- The fourth stage- The cancer cells look very abnormal during this stage. The tumors can be of any size and spread to tissues, lymph nodes, and other body parts.
How do cancer hospitals treat oral cancer?
Treatment for oral cancer depends on the place of the cancer cells and the stage of cancer. Sometimes doctors even use multiple ways to treat a patient. Therefore, you must visit a cancer hospital and discuss what type of treatment they will give you.
The doctors use the following ways to treat patients with oral cancer-
- Surgery- Surgeries help remove the tumors from the mouth, lymph nodes, and incisions in the neck. Glossectomy is a surgery that wholly or partially removes the tongue from the mouth. Sometimes after extensive surgeries, where the doctors remove the tissues, they also do reconstruction to fill the gaps.
- Radiation- Radiation therapy uses high beams to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is done alone if the patient is in an early stage. Otherwise, doctors use this after surgeries or with chemotherapy.
- Chemotherapy: This treatment makes use of chemicals to kill cancer cells. At times, chemotherapy is also done along with radiation therapy to increase the effects.
- Targeted drug therapy- This therapy uses certain drugs and interferes with the process of cancer cell growth. This treatment is effective in both- the advance and early stages of mouth cancer.
- Immunotherapy- Doctors use this treatment only for patients at a higher stage and other ineffective treatments. In this therapy, the health experts interfere with the immunity system, which otherwise cannot fight the cancer cells.
You must immediately start your treatment if you have any symptoms of oral cancer or even at an early age. Asian Hospital, Faridabad, is not the best for cancer treatment in Faridabad but the best cancer hospital in Asia.