Oral Cancer: Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
In most cases, it is diagnosed after spreading in the lymph nodes. However, early detection has the chance to save your life up to 84%. If you observe any symptoms, consult a physician at the earliest.
Here we will discuss its symptoms, cause, type, and other details to give a detailed insight.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer definition includes malignant growth inside the mouth or throat cavity. It comes under the broader category of head and neck cancer.
Generally, the areas affected by oral cancer are -
- Inner lining or inner side of the cheek
- Floor of the mouth
- Roof of the mouth
Who Is at Risk of Oral Cancer?
According to the American Cancer Research Society, men are twice at risk of oral cancer compared to women.
Some of the most important oral cancer causes are as follows -
- Smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Excessive drinking of alcohol.
- Family history of cancer.
- Extreme exposure of facial parts to the sun.
- Sexually transmitted HPV or human papillomavirus infection.
- Weak immune system.
- Genetic syndrome disorder.
- Improper nutrition.
Different Types of Oral Cancer
There are 4 stages or types of oral cancer, which are in the following table -
Oral Cancer Stages & Tumour/Growth Size
Survival Rate in 5 Years
Stage 1 and 2cm or smaller
Limited area and not reached lymph node
Stage 2 and 2-4 cm
Limited area and not reached lymph node
Stage 3 and Larger than 4cm
Reached to one lymph node but no other parts
Stage 4 and Overgrowth of the tumour
Reached lymph node, tissues, and other body parts
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Some of the symptoms of stage 1 oral cancer are as follows -
- Sores or blisters in the mouth, lip or any part of the oral cavity often take place and do not heal.
- Swelling, thickenings, rough spots, eroded area or patches inside the mouth, which are red or pale white in colour.
- Growth, tumour, or lump inside mouth.
- Consistent pain, numbness, tenderness in mouth, neck, or ear.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Sudden bleeding from the gum or mouth.
- Hoarseness in voice, sore throat, or change in voice.
- Huge weight loss without any effort.
To detect early-stage oral cancer or take necessary precautions, you must get through a routine dental exam with any dentist or physician. They can conduct screening exams to identify if you are susceptible to it or have any symptoms.
The physician will examine if there is any lump or growth inside your mouth cavity, tongue, neck, and head. Also, they will examine for any sores, discoloured tissue, irregular tissue, etc.
In case of any symptoms, the doctor will suggest the following tests to analyze the spread, stage, and different types of oral cancer -
- CT Scan
- PET Scan
- MRI Scan
The Main Causes of Oral Cancer
Mutation of squamous cells is a primary cause of mouth cancer. The mutation takes place in the DNA of the cell. DNA has a set of instructions or signals for the cell to perform activities. During mutation, this signalling system breaks down, and cells grow and divide, leading to the death of healthy cells.
Therefore, the abnormal cells keep on accumulating and form tumours expediting the subsequent oral cancer stages. With time it spreads from the mouth to other parts of the body if not treated early.
Recommended Treatments for Oral Cancer
Treatments for recovering different types of oral cancer are as follows -
1. Proper Nutrition and Maintaining Mouth Health
Most oral cancer patients are unable to swallow food or chew it properly. Therefore, their body lacks proper nutrition, immunity defers, and the malignancy becomes more prominent. Doctors prescribe medicines or food supplements that can improve this condition.
Maintaining mouth health is another most important factor necessary for the treatment of oral cancer. Therefore, the treatment procedure focuses on this part.
2. Targeted Therapy
Drugs are prescribed in the therapy, which binds with specific proteins present in cancer cells. This creates interference in the growing cells of the tumour.
In oral cancer first stage, surgery is an efficient mode of treatment. It removes the malignant cells, lymph nodes, tissues from the affected and surrounding area.
The medicine is given to the patient through oral or intravenous mode, which kills the cancerous cells.
5. Radiation Therapy
In this therapy, the doctor aims a beam of radiation on malignant tumours continuously twice a day for a minimum of five days and a maximum of eight weeks. In the advanced stage of malignancy, both radiotherapy and chemotherapy are given to the patient.
There are no proven measures or regimes to stop oral cancer. However, avoiding the risk factors, curving out tobacco consumption, adopting a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, and getting a periodical screening may keep you away from this disease.