Cancer is defined as the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue.
Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away. Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat), can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
Most of us may fear an ulcer in our mouth to be a cancer. Here is a guide to help you decide WHEN TO GO SEE A DOCTOR :
Ulcers that do not heal: A broken area of skin (ulcer) that will not heal can be a symptom of mouth cancer. Pain or discomfort in your mouth that doesn’t go away.
White or red patches in the mouth or : An abnormal looking patch could be a sign of cancer or potentially mailgnant lesions. These patches are not cancer, but if left untreated they may lead to cancer.
A fungal infection called thrush In the mouth can cause red and white patches. The white patches of thrush usually rub off, leaving a sore red patch underneath. If you have anti fungal treatment and the patches go away, they are not related to cancer.
- Difficulty swallowing Mouth cancer can cause pain or a burning sensation when chewing and swallowing food. Or you might feel like your food is sticking in your throat. Difficulty swallowing can also be caused by a harmless narrowing of the foodpipe (oesophagus).
- A lump in your neck You may have a lump in your neck caused by an enlarged lymph node. Swelling in one or more lymph nodes in the neck is a common symptom of mouth and orpharyngeal cancer.
A hot red painful lump usually means an infection, rather than a cancer. Lumps that come and go are not usually due to cancer. Cancer usually forms a lump that slowly gets bigger.
- Numbness of the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth
- Jaw swelling that makes dentures hurt or fit poorly
- Loosening of the teeth loose teeth for no clear reason
- Weight loss Weight loss is a common symptom of many different types of cancer. Mouth and oropharyngeal cancer can make it painful to eat and difficult to swallow. This might cause weight loss.
Extreme weight loss (when you are not dieting) can be a sign of advanced cancer.
Factors that can increase your risk of mouth cancer include:
- Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others
- Heavy alcohol use
- Excessive sun exposure to your lips
- A sexually transmitted virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- weakened immune system
“EARLY DETECTION HELPS IN BETTER CURE”
When found early, oral cancer has an 80-90% survival rate. Most cases of oral cancer are identified late because of a lack of public awareness.
Here are some important steps you can take to practice prevention:
- Request an oral cancer screening at every dental checkup.
- Talk to your dentist if you experience any of the following symptoms – persistent mouth sores or pain, numbness, white or red patches on your gums, tongue, or tonsils, difficulty chewing or swallowing, weight loss or persistent bad breath.
- Perform monthly self-screenings, paying attention to the floor of the mouth and sides of the tongue. Ask your dentist if any of these symptoms continue for more than two weeks: white, red spots or sores on your tongue or mouth, swelling in your throat, neck, or mouth.
- If something is suspicious, get it biopsied—this is the only way to diagnose oral cancer.
What Can I Do to Prevent Oral Cancer?
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.
- Bi-annual visits to the dentist and routine oral cancer screenings are critical to maintaining your well-being, regardless your age, gender and/or overall health.
TREATMENT OF ORAL CANCER:Treatment of Oral cancer depends upon the stage of cancer :
A late diagnosis could mean a death sentence.. Hence, it is crucial be aware of Oral cancer and spread the awareness among our near and dear ones.