Symptoms Of Mouth Cancer
Mouth cancer is a cancer that can develop in any part of the mouth, including the tongue, the gums, the palate (roof of the mouth), under the tongue, the skin lining the mouth or the lips. Cancer that occurs on the inside of the mouth is sometimes called oral cancer or oral cavity cancer.
Mouth cancer can affect any part of the mouth, including the tongue,Lips,Gums,Tongue,Inside lining of the cheeks,Roof of the mouth anf Floor of the mouth.The most common symptoms are having a sore or ulcer for more than three weeks.The most common symptoms of oral cancer include-
- Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth.
- The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.
- Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck.
- Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks.
- A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice and Ear pain and Dramatic weight loss.
- A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together.
Types of oral cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma
Cancers that occur in the oral cavity and oropharynx are squamous cell carcinoma. Normally, the throat and mouth are lined with so-called squamous cells, which are flat and arranged in a scale-like way. Squamous cell carcinoma means that some squamous cells are abnormal.
Oral cavity tumors are verrucous carcinoma, which is a type of very slow-growing cancer made up of squamous cells. This type of oral cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body, but can invade the tissue surrounding the site of origin.
Minor salivary gland carcinomas
This category includes several kinds of oral cancer that can develop on the minor salivary glands, which are found throughout the lining of the mouth and throat. These types include adenoid cystic carcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma.
Oral cancers that develop in lymph tissue, which is part of the immune system, are known as lymphomas. The tonsils and base of the tongue both contain lymphoid tissue. See our pages on Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma for cancer information related to lymphomas in the oral cavity.
Benign oral cavity and oropharyngeal tumors
Several types of non-cancerous tumors and tumor-like conditions can arise in the oral cavity and oropharynx. Sometimes, these conditions may develop into cancer. For this reason, benign tumors, which usually don’t recur, are often surgically removed.
Leukoplakia and erythroplakia
These non-cancerous conditions mean that there are certain types of abnormal cells in the mouth or throat. With leukoplakia, a white area can be seen, and with erythroplakia, there is a red area, flat or slightly raised, that often bleeds when scraped. Both conditions may be precancerous; that is, they can develop into different types of cancer. When these conditions occur, a biopsy or other test is done to determine whether the cells are cancerous.
Most leukoplakia is benign
About 25% of cases of leukoplakia are either cancerous when first discovered or become precancerous. Erythroplakia is usually more serious, with about 70% of cases cancerous either at the time of diagnosis or later.
Treatment for mouth cancer depends on your cancer’s location and stage, as well as your overall health and personal preferences. You may have just one type of treatment, or you may undergo a combination of cancer treatments.
- Your surgeon may cut away the tumor and a margin of healthy tissue that surrounds it. Smaller cancers may be removed through minor surgery.
- If cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes in your neck, your surgeon may recommend a procedure to remove cancerous lymph nodes and related tissue in the neck.
- After an operation to remove your cancer, your surgeon may recommend reconstructive surgery to restore the appearance of your face or to help you regain the ability to talk and eat. Your surgeon may transplant grafts of skin, muscle or bone from other parts of your body to reconstruct your face. Dental implants may replace your natural teeth.
Radiotherapy is a treatment which uses high-energy beams of radiation which are focused on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops cancer cells from multiplying. Two types of radiotherapy are used for mouth cancer: external and internal.
External radiotherapy. This is where radiation is targeted on the cancer from a machine. (This is the common type of radiotherapy which is used for many types of cancer.)
Internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy). This treatment involves placing small radioactive wires next to the cancer for a short time and then they are removed.
Chemotherapy is a treatment which uses anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells, or to stop them from multiplying. Chemotherapy may be used in conjunction with radiotherapy or surgery. Chemotherapy may also be advised if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body.
Causes mouth cancer
- Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others.
- Excessive sun exposure to your lips.
- Mouth cancer is just one cancer which has a much higher incidence in smokers than in non-smokers.
- Drinking a lot of alcohol can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer.
- Chewing tobacco or the betal leaf.
- The human papillomavirus (HPV) may increase your risk of mouth cancer.
- There are some conditions affecting the mouth, such as leukoplakia and erythroplakia, which can increase the risk of a cancer developing.
To Prevent Oral Cancer
- Don’t smoke or use any tobacco products and drink alcohol in moderation (and refrain from binge drinking).
- Eat a well balanced diet.
- Limit your exposure to the sun. Repeated exposure increases the risk of cancer on the lip, especially the lower lip. When in the sun, use UV-A/B-blocking sun protective lotions on your skin, as well as your lips.