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Oral cancer (OC) occurs when DNA mutations develop in the cells lining the lips and the mouth cavity. It commonly affects the tongue, floor of mouth, buccal mucosa, lips, palate, gum etc all. Mostly, oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that begin in the squamous cells lining the lips and the inside of mouth.
Type: of oral cancer are as enumerated below -
Gender: affects the male populace predominantly. But, it can affect both male and female. It’s the commonest cancer in India currently, and accounts for a significant percentage of the total cancer mortality.
Etiology: consumption of “khaini” (tobacco & lime mix), betel nut, areca nut, slaked lime, chronic irritation due to irregular teeth, smoking, alcohol consumption, oral infection with Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) / Human Papilloma virus (HPV), nutritional deficiencies, chronic infections & poor dental/ oral hygiene are the common risk factors that can trigger oral carcinogenesis. It is noteworthy that the local effects of tobacco and alcohol are both dose-dependent and synergistic.
Features: the various presentations (of signs & symptoms) of Oral cancer are as given below –
Cheek cancer - hard and painless thickening, with an ulcer sometimes that does not heal for weeks together.
Lip cancer - white patch on the inner lining of the lip on which a hard mass slowly develops.
Palate cancer- persistent sore on the hard palate that may ulcerate.
Tongue cancer - ulcer on the side of the tongue that bleeds occasionally and does not heal.
Screening: is generally recommended for asymptomatic populations goal of which, as usual, is to be able to detect & diagnose oral cancer at an early stage which is potentially curable. Visual screening by healthcare personnel including dentists, general practitioners, oncologists, surgeons etc all is crucial to detect not only early asymptomatic oral cancers but also the oral pre-cancerous lesions including oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF), oral leukoplakia, erythroplakia et al which carry a high risk of malignant transformation to in-situ and invasive cancers.
Diagnosis: a complete physical exam of the local parts basis the features mentioned above arouses suspicion that prompts diagnosis -
Biopsy (punch or removal of mass of tissue (excision) for cytology) clinches the diagnosis of oral cancer. Should there be a neck mass that arises suspicion of a regional metastatic disease, a fine needle biopsy (FNB) can be attempted.
Initial staging workup includes CT, MRI scans etc all. PET CT scan though frequently employed, is not usually used for the initial workup.
A triple endoscopy that includes laryngoscopy, esophagoscopy and bronchoscopy can help definitive staging of the disease. Biopsies obtained during this procedure help confirm the primary diagnosis, define the extent to which the primary site disease has spread, and identify additional pre-malignant lesions and metastasis, if any.
Treatment / Prognosis: preventive measures, earlier diagnosis and right early treatment is key for better prognostication and efficient/ effective therapeutic management of oral cancer. Conventional treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy as deems appropriate. Simultaneously, an adjunctive or integrative naturopathic treatment with suitable complementary & alternative medicines (CAM) too can help improve clinical endpoints and facilitate recovery as would be feasible contextually. As seen with other cancers, the site, stage, histopathological grading etc all determine the treatment outlook. The number of micronucleated oral mucosal cells can be a useful biomarker for predicting course of oral pre-cancerous lesions and prognosis thereof.
Prevention: rightly said, prevention is always a better choice. Although genetic risks are difficult to modify, still an increased focus on protective factors and avoidance of the risk factors can be of help. Especially, abstaining from use of tobacco/ products, alcohol, regularly maintaining oral health and hygiene and daily intake of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables can help prevent a vast majority of oral cancers. Also, timely screening/ detection of the pre-cancerous lesions of the oral cavity and prompt treatment thereof is crucial to preventing a malignant transformation of the same. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can ask a free question.
I am suffering from mouth pain. When I open my jaws then it's hurt me or pain me. So please help me what should I do to over come it?
Your tongue not only helps you in tasting, kissing, chewing or talking, but also helps in maintaining good oral health and hygiene. Since your tongue is exposed to a lot of bacteria and acid while you eat, taking proper care of it is of utmost importance. Not doing so can lead to the development of a whitish layer over your tongue, along with giving rise to bad breath. Not only that, an excess of bacteria on your tongue is harmful for your teeth and can cause tooth decay.
When you clean your tongue properly, you enhance your sense of taste and bid adieu to a host of oral health problems. Here are some handy tips on taking care of your tongue:
- Cleaning your tongue every time you brush with a tongue cleaner can put an end to bacteria growth in your mouth. Make sure to use either a tongue cleaner or a toothbrush with a dedicated tongue cleaner to clean your tongue. Also, clean your tongue in a downward motion to expel all the accumulated bacteria, and never apply a lot of pressure when doing so.
- Apply a thin layer of your toothpaste on your tongue before cleaning it. This makes removing bacteria from your tongue that much easier.
- After every time you're done cleaning your tongue, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. Also, make sure to use a mouthwash once in a while, as that keeps foul odour at bay. Although, using a mouthwash daily is not advised as it can cause dryness in the mouth.
- A saline water solution to rinse your mouth can keep your tongue clean. All you need is a glass of lukewarm water with half a teaspoon of salt for this.
- Drinking green tea is particularly good for your tongue as it reduces the bacteria in your mouth to a great extent, preventing various oral health problems as a result.
- Foods that are high on natural or added colours (such as berries, black grapes or orange ice popsicles) should be avoided as they leave a thin layer of color behind on your tongue, which can mar its appearance.
- Sometimes, a whitish layer on your tongue can be a sign of a fungal infection, in which case you should go for a professional clean-up.
- Drinking lots of water is good for your tongue as it helps in washing out all the accumulated food and bacteria. Also, discoloration of the tongue can often be caused by dehydration, which is why drinking adequate amounts of water that is 10-12 glasses a day is vital.
Related Tip: "5 Reasons To Get Regular Dental Cleaning"
My teeth are yellowish in color till I brush twice daily. So. Please tell me how can I get white teeth within two or three weeks as after three weeks I have to attend an farewell party with my girlfriend please tell some cure of yellowness of teeth.
Am diabetic since 1983 and I am suffering from constipation. The stool is hard like goat stool. My right foot is dead and the other is getting effected. I am using Zoryl M2 in the morning and m1 in the night, I started this medicine since 13 days ago. The sugar has gone down to 86. I want to ask you whether I should continue this medicine or I should change. Constipation is irritating and mouth gets dry it results bite on. Side of mouth Is it a saliva problem, I need your help.
I am getting frequently 2-3 mouth ulcer's in a range of 2 week. Is there any way to stop or reducing this?
I am suffering from bad breath for the last four years. I consulted many doctors on this problem but not found cure till now. I am worrying very much about this problem as I am facing many problems at my workplace with my colleagues. I hope I may get solution for this problem with Ayurveda medicines. I consulted gastro-entomologist and also ENT doctor for this problem earlier. I can provide reports and transcripts if required.
I brush my teeth regularly and properly but still its inner side become yellow .moreover little black colour deposit in corner. How can I avoid it? My teeth are clear white from outside.
Am 26 old my front tooth broken half at my school time. Is there any needs to replace that teeth or that can modified without replace. If it possible can I have the cost of it?
Sugary foods should be consumed in limited quantities as the bacteria in dental plaque changes them into acids.
If you have diabetes, you have a greater risk of developing certain oral health problems than people who don?t have diabetes. Controlling blood glucose (blood sugar) levels can reduce the risk of these effects.
A veneer placed over a tooth surface can greatly improve a tooth that is stained, badly shaped, crooked, or injured.
A balanced diet, limited number of snacks, brushing and flossing each day, and regular dental checkups are the keys to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
If you are nervous about going to the dentist, tell your dentist and the dental staff. They may be able to adapt the treatment to your needs.