The most frequent type of head and neck cancer is oral cancer (mouth cancer). It usually affects adults over the age of 60, but in recent times even adults as young as 35 have been detected with it. Oral cancer affects your lips and the inner part of the cheeks most commonly, it can also involve the roof and floor of your mouth. It may also affect the oropharynx, which includes the final section of your tongue and the roof of your mouth, your tonsils, and the sides and back of your throat.
What is Oral Cancer?
The generic term for cancer that affects the interior of your mouth is oral cancer (mouth cancer). Oral cancer might seem like a typical problem with your lips or mouth, such as white spots or bleeding sores. The distinction between a common oral infection and possible cancer is that these alterations do not disappear. Oral cancer, if left untreated, can spread from your mouth and throat to other parts of your body, mainly your neck.
Causes of Oral Cancer:
Oral cancer begins in the squamous epithelium of your mouth. Squamous cells are flat and resemble fish scales when examined under a microscope. Squamous cells become malignant when their DNA changes and they begin to grow and replicate, thus leading to oral cancer. These malignant cells can spread throughout your mouth and then to other parts of your head and neck, as well as other parts of your body, over time.
- Tobacco usage, particularly ingestible forms such as gutkha, increases your chance of getting mouth cancer.
- Heavy alcohol consumption also raises the risk. The use of both gutka and alcohol raises the risk considerably more.
- Cigarette smoking is also a dangerous source of oral cancer.
HPV( Human Papillomavirus): It is an Infection with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV 16) that has been associated with oral malignancies.
Age factor: The risk rises with age. Oral cancers are more common in adults over the age of 40.
Exposure to the sun: Sun exposure has been linked to lip cancer and skin cancer
Oral Cancer Symptoms:
These medical conditions all lead to patches in your mouth and throat, although the colors vary.
Here are some of the symptoms one should look out for:
Leukoplakia: It is characterized by flat white or grey areas in the mouth or throat.
Erythroplakia: These are red areas that are slightly elevated or flat. When scraped, these spots may bleed.
Erythroleukoplakia: These are red and white blotches.
Other common symptoms:
- Lip or mouth sores that bleed readily and do not heal within two weeks.
Rough or crusty patches on your lips, gums, or the interior of your mouth.
- Those parts of your mouth that bleed for no apparent reason.
Numbness, soreness, or tenderness on your face and neck, or in your mouth, for no obvious reason.
- Difficulties eating, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
Pain in the ears.
- Chronic foul breath.
Oral Cancer Stages:
Diagnostic tests aid in determining the stage of malignant cancer. A stage specifies the location of cancer and whether or not it has developed or breached the surface of the region where it was discovered. Tests will also determine whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body or not.
Healthcare practitioners utilize staging information to propose therapy and forecast recovery possibilities. The TNM(Tumour, Node, Metastasis) method is used to stage oral malignancies. T represents the main tumor’s size and location. N shows whether the tumor has migrated to your lymph nodes. M signifies that the tumor has spread to other parts of your body.
Five years after diagnosis, around 63% of persons with oral cavity cancer are still alive.
The stages of oral cavity cancer are:
TI: The tumor in your mouth measures 2 centimeters or less.
T2: The tumor is 2 centimeters or larger but isn’t larger than 4 centimeters.
T3: The tumor is larger than 4 centimeters.
T4: the tumor invades the skin or the jawbone or other structures of the mouth.
Measures to Prevent Oral Cancer:
Oral cancer is preventable, and you may play an active part in that prevention. The following tips can help you prevent oral cancer:
- If you smoke, chew tobacco, or use a water pipe, consider quitting or reducing your use.
- Discuss smoking cessation programs with your doctor.
- If you like to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
- Remember to bring your sunblock. Apply UV-AB sunscreen and sunblock to your face.
- Obtain a human papillomavirus vaccination.
- Consume a well-balanced diet.
Maintain frequent dental check-ups. People between the ages of 20 and 40 should get oral cancer screening every three years, while those above 40 should have yearly checks.
Treatment of Oral Cancer:
Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are the three primary treatment options for oral (mouth) cancer. Discuss with your doctor the purpose, side effects, and strategies to control the side effects of each of your alternatives.
Surgeries used for the treatment of Oral Cancer:
Primary tumor surgery: It involves the removal of tumors through your mouth or a neck incision.
Glossectomy: The partial or complete removal of your tongue.
Mandibulectomy: This is surgery to remove oral cancer from the jawbone.
Maxillectomy: This procedure removes part or all of the hard palate, the bony roof of your mouth.
Sentinel lymph node biopsy: This test determines whether cancer has spread beyond the primary oral malignancy.
Neck dissection: This procedure removes lymph nodes from your neck.
Latest therapies in Head and Neck Cancer treatment include the use of artificial intelligence to plan the surgery, the use of 3D Modeling, and frozen section. All these ensure better surgery with a lesser chance of recurrence and better cosmetic and functional outcomes.
Other Therapies involved in the treatment of Oral Cancer:
1) Radiation therapy: This treatment employs high-energy beams to either destroy or prevent cancer cells from developing. Radiation therapy may be combined with other therapies by your doctor.
2)Targeted therapy: It is a cancer treatment that uses medicines or other substances to accurately identify and destroy certain types of cancer cells while causing no harm to normal cells. Monoclonal antibodies are immune system proteins generated in the laboratory and used to treat cancer.
3) Chemotherapy: Your doctor may employ anti-cancer medications to eliminate cancer cells, including therapies that impact the majority of your body.
Immunotherapy: It is a cancer treatment that uses your immune system to combat the illness. The treatment is also known as biological therapy.
Oral Cancer Clinic:
We provide the best healthcare facilities for Oral Cancer patients. Our multispeciality clinics are situated in the following locations:
Our Centres for Oral Cancer Treatment
One can visit any of our branches that are nearby to your location for the best overall healthcare treatment of Oral Cancer. Our experts not only provide superior quality care using latest technologies but also provide complete treatment along with rehabilitation facilities and post-operative care.