Oral cancer can occur in any part of the mouth or throat. It basically hits the group of people who are 40 years older or above.
Do you know? Approximately 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the United States and they are 40 years or above. Oral cancers are mostly diagnosed once they have reached the lymph nodes of the neck.
Which are the parts of the mouth affected by oral cancer?
The key to curing oral cancer is its early detection and it involves cancer of the:
- The floor of the mouth
- The inner side of the cheeks
- Hard and soft palate
To avoid such kind of trouble, it is advisable to go for biannual dental checkups for healthy smile, teeth and mouth.
What are the risk factors responsible for causing oral cancer?
The riskiest factor is tobacco use, smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes. One has to get rid off such cancer-related substances to avoid the occurrence of oral cancer.
People who also intake excessive alcohol and liquor are also at the edge of developing oral cancer.
Other factors are:
- Facial exposure to sun
- A family history of oral cancer
- A weakened immune system
- Bad nutrition
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
- Gender: Yes, males are prone to develop oral cancer at a faster rate as compared to females.
What are the early signs or symptoms associated with oral cancer?
- A sore on the lip or mouth that doesn’t heal on its own
- A mass or lump in the mouth
- Consistent bleeding from the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty while swallowing food
- Loss in appetite
- A severe earache that doesn’t disappear
- White or red patches in the mouth
- Jaw or tongue pain
If the patient experiences any of the signs that don’t heal on its own, then he/she has to consult professional help immediately.
Oral Cancer: How is it diagnosed?
It begins with a deep examination of your mouth: roof as well as floor, lips, tongue, cheeks, throat and lymph nodes in your neck. If the doctor is not able to discover the root cause of the problem, then the patient is referred to an ENT specialist.
If the specialist smells any suspicious lesions, then he may perform a brush or tissue biopsy. In brush biopsy, cells are collected from the affected area by brushing a slide on it, while a tissue biopsy is the removal of tissue to get it tested under the microscope to check the sign of any cancerous cells.
Additionally, the doctor may perform a CT scan, X-ray, PET scan, MRI scan or endoscopy to find the exact area that has affected and stage of cancer.
Oral Cancer: what are its different stages?
The four stages of cancer:
Stage I: The stage I is curable as the tumor is 2 centimeters or small and it hasn’t reached the lymph nodes yet.
Stage II: In stage II, the tumor size varies between 2-4 cm. However, it has still not touched the lymph nodes.
Stage III: There are two possibilities when the cancer is in stage III. The tumor is larger than 4 cm and somehow, has not spread to the lymph nodes. In another case, it could be of any size and has reached the lymph nodes.
Stage IV: In stage IV, the tumor could be of any size and the cancerous cells have also spread to the different parts of the mouth including lymph nodes or surrounding tissues.
According to the latest data, there are 60 percent chances of all cancer survivors with oral cancer have a five-year survival rate. Also, the five-year survival rate of a cancer survivor of stage I and II is 70-90 percent.
What are the types of treatment involved in curing oral cancer?
Depending on the stage of cancer, the treatment includes:
- Surgery: If cancer is detected at an early stage, the tumor is usually removed with surgery. Additionally, the surrounding affected tissues are also removed.
- Radiation therapy: If cancer has reached the advanced stage, then the doctor targets high dose of radiations at the tumor for two to eight weeks.
- Chemotherapy: It kills cancerous cells. In the case of oral cancer, the drug is usually given orally or through an intravenous (IV) line.
- Targeted Therapy: It is a kind of treatment which is effective in all stages of cancer. The drugs used to target the changes in cancerous cells that spread, multiply or divide.
To get treated for oral cancer, India has skilled and experienced oncologists. It is advisable to reach out to an established medical travel assistant company that helps in making an appointment with the best doctor for cancer in India, visa, travel and accommodation assistance and more!
It is important to follow a proper, healthy nutritional diet as treatments can make you weak, fatigue, poor appetite and more. It also keeps the mouth healthy. Moreover, the treatment totally depends on the patient’s age, gender, stage of cancer, tolerance level and response to the different types of treatment. However, the best part is early detection. It is easier to treat cancer if it is at stage I and II.