Mouth Cancer : Causes, Early Signs, Treatment, Diagnosis
You should know about mouth cancer: Causes, Early Signs, Treatment, Diagnosis
Mouth or oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, on the lips, the tongue, the inner side of the cheek, on the gums, in the upper and lower surface of the mouth, in the salivary glands, and in the tonsils.
It is similar to cancer that occurs in head and neck, and similar is the treatment.
American Society of Clinical Oncology reports, an estimate of 48,330 Americans were to receive a diagnosis of pharyngeal or oral cancer in 2016, and around 9,570 deaths were anticipated.
In most of the cases, Mouth cancer occurs after the age of 40, and the risk of its occurrence is considerably high in men nearly twice as compared to women.
Mouth Cancer Symptoms
In the initial stage, there might be no noticeable signs or symptoms, but we still recommend regular checkups with Ekdantam Best Dental Clinic in Jaipur to the people with regular smoking and drinking habits, as any early symptoms can be identified.
Mouth Cancer Signs and symptoms include:
- Patches start appearing on the inner layer of the mouth or on the tongue, usually red or reddish white in color.
- Constant mouth ulcers or sores that do not heal.
- Swelling that stays more than three weeks.
- Thickening of the skin on the lining of the mouth, like a lump.
- Pain while swallowing
- Teeth’s start to fall with no visible cause.
- Poorly fitting dentures
- A sore throat and tongue.
- Jaw pain or rigidness.
- At times the person would feel like something is jammed in the throat.
- Hoarse or heavy voice.
- Continues pain in the neck or ear.
Note: It is not necessary that every person who sustains any of these symptoms have mouth cancer, but it is always worth going to a Best Dentist.
Skin cancer of the lip
lower lip cancer
Cancer below the tongue
Mouth cancer – bottom lip
Mouth Cancer Treatment
The treatment entirely depends on where and at what stage the cancer is, including the patient’s overall health and personal preferences. A combination of treatments may be required.
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Mouth Cancer Surgery
Surgically abstracting the tumor includes taking out the tumor and certain brim of healthy tissues covering it.
Small tumors usually require minor surgery, but in the more critical conditions of a large tumor, surgery may include removing a certain part of the tongue or the jawbone.
In a case where the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in the neck, the cancerous lymph nodes and tissues related to it will be surgically isolated.
If the appearance of the face changes after the surgery, or the patient’s ability to eat, talk, or both, then a reconstructive surgery may be required
This implicates using transplanted splices of skin, bone or muscle from other healthy parts of the body. Immediate Dental implants may be a necessity.
Radiation therapy for Mouth Cancer
Oral cancers are mostly sensitive to radiation therapies, as it uses beams of high-energy X-rays or radiation particles to disrupt the DNA located in the tumor cells, killing their ability to reproduce.
In brachy therapy, radioactive seed and wires can be placed around the cancer inside the body whereas in external beam radiation the radiation is delivered from outside.
Brachy therapy is usually used to treat patients in their early stages of cancer of the tongue.
The tumor is directly stuck with radioactive needles and wires, transmitting certain quantity of radiation into the tumor.
During this period the patient is usually sedated or under general anesthetic. A course of which can normally last from 1-8 days.
A person being analyzed with early-stage mouth cancer will not only need radiation therapy, but a combined surgery, chemotherapy, or both might be required in some cases to prevent cancer from returning.
In early stage oral cancer radiation therapy may remove the cancer.
Side effects of radiation therapy include:
- mouth sores
- skin reactions, as with a burn
- bleeding gums
- jaw stiffness
- tooth decay
Chemotherapy for Mouth Cancer
Generally, cancer can be treated with radiation therapy as well aschemo therapy, particularly if there is a significant chance of the cancer returning.
Highly powerful medicines are used in Chemotherapy that damage the DNA of the cancer cells, depressing their ability to reproduce.
For the fact, these highly powerful medicines can sometimes damage healthy tissue.
The following side effects may be seen:
- weakened immune system, increasing the risk of infection
- hair loss
These effects are seen to disappear after the treatment is finished.
Targeted drug therapy
Targeted drug therapy practices drugs identified as monoclonal antibodies to cause modification among the cancer cells that help them grow.
Erbitux, or Cetuximab, is used in case of some head and neck cancers. Radiotherapy or Chemotherapy may be combined with targeted drug therapy for better results.
The following mild adverse effects are possible:
- Conjunctivitis or inflammationof the eyes.
Approximately around 3 percent of patients have an allergic reaction from Cetuximab.
Stages of Mouth Cancer
Cancers are generally staged under the following way:
- Stage 1: When the tumor is less than “1 inch” and has not affected lymph nodes around it
- Stage 2: When the tumor measures between 1 to 2 inches and also has not affected the area around lymph nodes
- Stage 3: Either the tumor is more than 2 inches in size but has not spread, or it has infected one nearby lymph node on the same side where the tumor on the neck lies, and the lymph node is not more than one inch across
- Stage 4: The cancer has possibly affected tissues around the lips, mouth, and probably around lymph nodes; or in the worst cases it has spread to the other parts of the body
The stage of the cancer directs different ways by which the cancer is treated increasing the probability of recovery.
Mouth Cancer Causes
Cancer occurs when a genetic change inculcates cells to grow without control.
If not treated in time, oral cancer will start from one part of the mouth gradually moving to other parts of the mouth and then to the head and neck finally spreading through the rest of the body.
Mouth cancers normally start from the squamous cells that are responsible to line the lips and the inner part of the mouth. This is termedas squamous cell carcinoma.
The exact cause of the genetic mutations is still unknown, but there is evidence that prove certain risk factors escalate the chance of developing mouth cancer.
Mouth Cancer Risk factors
Alcohol and tobacco are prominent risk factors for mouth cancer.
Smokers have three times more chances to develop mouth cancer than Nonsmokers, and individuals who drink and smoke alcohol have up to 30 times higher risk than those who do not drink and smoke.
Some of the other risk factors include:
- Ultraviolet exposure to the lips, from sunlamps, sunbeds, orthe sun itself.
- Human papilloma virus(HPV) infection
- Exposure to specific chemicals, especially sulfuric acid, asbestos, and formaldehyde
- A diet rich in processed meat, red meat, and fried foods
- Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), a digestive disorder where acids from the stomach escapes back to the gullet
- Previous radiotherapy, or radiation treatment, in the head, neck, or both
- Regularly chewing betel nuts, a popular habit in some parts of Southeast Asia
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) noted that there might be a “small chance” that jagged or broken escalate the risk of mouth cancer.
They urge the people to follow a healthy oral and dental hygiene practices, including consistent brushing, to cut down the risk.
Diagnosis of Mouth Cancer
A biopsy may be conceded, where a small amount of tissue is extracted to check for cancerous cells. Occasionally a “brush biopsy” is used at first; this is where cells are painlessly extracted by brushing them to one side.
If a person is diagnosed with mouth cancer, the next step is to determine the stage of the cancer.
- Endoscopy, here a lighted scope is sent down the patient’s throat to analyses the depth of the cancer or how far it has spread
- Imaging tests, such as Computed Tomography (CT) scans, X-ray, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan will analyze the cancer according to which the treatment options are adapted and the prognosis is predicted.
An individual who is diagnosed with stage 1 pharyngeal or oral cancer has a chance of 83 percent for surviving longer than 5 years. Nearly 31 percent of cases are from diagnosed with stage 1.
For those individuals where the cancer had already spread to other parts of the body, the possibilities of surviving more than 5 years is nearly 38 percent.
Complications in Mouth Cancer
Mouth cancer can make things difficult by affecting the outlook of the form.
Difficulty swallowing or dysphagia, is the major complication seen in mouth cancer.
Swallowing is generally anatural process, but radiotherapy or surgery may affect the motion of the tongue, throat, or mouth.
Dysphagia can result in malnutrition and food going down through the wrong way, leading to choking, aspiration pneumonia or, lung infections.
If a test suggests that the food particles are entering the patients’ lungs, a temporary feeding tube can be directly attached to the stomach, while the patient practices exercise that improves their swallowing movement.
An individual with continues problems might have to follow a special diet.
Difficulties while talking are common, but a proper speech therapy can help you in practicing some exercises that can develop vocal movements.
Irritability, depression,anxiety, and frustration may also occur. Joining an online forum or support group might be helpful, letting you meet people with similar experiences.
Prevention for mouth cancer
There are various factors which can reduce the the risk of mouth cancer.
- Avoiding or quitting tobacco can be among the best practices.
- consuming alcohol in a limited amount or not at all
- Avoid extreme exposure to sun and using sunscreen on the lips
- Avoiding junk foods, processed meats, and saturated fats.
Signs show that the chance of developing cancer of any type is lower among the people who exercise habitually and maintain a healthy diet, consuming enough fruits, fish oil, vegetables, whole grains,olive oil, and small quantity of lean plant or animal-based protein.