Oral cancer or mouth cancer is a common form of neck and head cancer. Usually, oral cancer affects people aged 60 and above. If you delve into the matter of oral cancer and begin gathering information, you will see that oral cancer affects the mouth area and the first part of the tongue. Also, it affects the mouth roof. In some cases, oral cancer affects the last part of the tongue and the side of the face.
The problem with oral cancer lies in its normality. At the beginning stage, it looks like normal bleeding sores or some white patches. However, when these refuse to go away, people come to understand that they are not suffering from any common ailment. If you keep oral cancer untended, you will end up with more serious issues as oral cancer spread across the mouth. Sometimes oral cancer can spread across the head and neck area.
Who Gets Affected By Oral Cancer?
It has been seen that men are more prone to getting oral cancer. However, this does not mean that women are safe from this ailment. Anyone can suffer from oral cancer.
Oral cancer – How Does It Affect
Oral cancer, usually, affects the interior of the mouth. Usually, it affects some parts of the tongue or the roof of the mouth. It also affects the middle portion of the throat. Oral cancer affects the portion of the mouth which gets visible when the mouth gets opened. To understand oral cancer, you need to understand the oral cavity. The oral cavity refers to –
- Gum area
- The inside area of the cheek
- The floor of the mouth
- The first part of the mouth roof
- The part behind the wisdom teeth
Symptoms & Causes
Oral cancer appears around the squamous cells. These are flat and look like fish scales. Squamous cells become infectious in case of DNA changes. When it happens cells begin to grow and then start to multiply. With time these cells spread across the other areas of the mouth and eventually the ailment spreads across the neck and head.
What Can Increase the Risk of Oral Cancer?
If you are wondering about the activities which give birth to oral cancer, then you are not alone. Most people who suffer from oral cancer have some things in common. They have the habit of smoking regularly. In addition to this, they drink excessive alcohol. Those who spend a lot of time under the sun without applying sunblock cream or lotion also get cancer. However, it is essential to remember that some suffer from oral cancer, even though they don’t have any issues with smoking, or drinking.
What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Sometimes the symptoms of oral cancer get mistaken as common signs of health disorder. For example, white patches can be a sign of oral cancer. However, in the initial stage, it may seem like common patches. However, these patches may be signs of oral cancer. Therefore, it does not matter how simple the health disorder seems, you should not ignore anything related to your health.
Oral Cancer – Diagnosis
An experienced dentist will be able to spot the cancerous patches while examining your oral disorder. The preliminary test may get followed up with other tests. Sometimes the dentists refer their patients to other doctors or surgeons. The oral cancer tests may vary depending on the seriousness of the ailments. An oral cancer test begins with a physical examination. The oral specialists will take a look inside your mouth. The specialists will also take a look at the head and face for the signs of oral cancer.
Another way to test the potential patients of oral cancer is by using a brush. This type of test is known as brush biopsy. The specialists use small brushes to extract cells from the affected areas to determine whether the cells are indeed cancerous. In addition, in some cases, the specialists will take out tissues to examine cells for cancer.
Another popular way of testing for oral cancer is by using a mirror. The specialists use a mirror to take a look at the base of the tongue and other areas of the mouth to decide whether you are suffering from cancer or not.
Using an endoscope is another way of testing for cancer. This is one of the direct methods of testing. The endoscope is a thin tube that gets used to determine whether someone is suffering from oral cancer or not. It comes with attached light and lens.
Stages of Oral Cancer
Oral tests can determine the stages of oral cancer. Without checking with a dentist and going for a diagnosis, you will not be able to determine the severity of your cancer. The stages actually determine the location of cancer. Also, oral diagnosis tries to decide whether cancer has spread across the other areas of the mouth and head or not.
The staging data is extracted to decide the treatment. Also, this data helps in predicting the possibilities of recovery. Given below is the list of stages of oral cancer.
- Stage One – The measurement of the oral tumor is less than 2 CM
- Stage Two – Here the tumor is around 2 CM or bigger. However, the tumor does not cross 4 CM in this stage.
- Stage Three – Here the tumor grows bigger than 4 CM
Oral Cancer – Treatment
The three key treatment options are surgery, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy. Before getting into the treatment, be sure to speak to your doctor. You must know about the side effects of the treatments. In addition, you need to know about the ways to deal with the side effects.
Dentists go through detailed considerations before suggesting any treatment. The type of oral cancer plays a big role in determining the treatment. In addition, your general health comes into consideration when deciding the treatment for cancer. The dentists need to know whether you can take the intensity of the treatment or not. Also, the dentists consider the age of the patients.
Oral Cancer – Prevention
It is possible to prevent oral cancer. If you wish you can play an active role to prevent cancer and lead a healthy life. In case, you smoke a lot or chew tobacco, you should stop at once. Nothing affects oral health worse than smoking and tobacco chewing. However, if it is too difficult to quit, you must reduce the intake at once.
If you have a habit of excessive drinking, you should reduce the intake to moderation. Using sunblock lotions or creams works in oral cancer prevention. Eating a healthy and balanced diet helps in keeping oral cancer at bay.
Lastly, remember that oral cancer demands immediate diagnosis. If you notice signs of cancer around your mouth, you should get in touch with a professional dentist without delay. Remember that early detection can prevent the severity of cancer and increase the chances of early recovery.