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Oral Cancer - Know The Causes And Symptoms

Written and reviewed by
DNB Surgical Oncology, MS Surgery, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MNAMS
Oncologist, Noida  •  29 years experience
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Hi everybody,

 I am Dr. Ashish Goel,Surgical Oncology. So today we will talk about oral cancer. As we are all aware there has been a recent increase in the incidences of oral cancer and the main reason behind this is the increasing usage of tobacco alcohol and smoking. This is very much common in the younger generation. Oral cancer generally presents itself as small swelling or lumps or bumps in the mouth. Most often the patient will always have warning signs in terms of swelling inside the mouth, on the cheek, in the gums over the teeth, sometimes loosening of teeth, sometimes bleeding comes, change in voice, some swelling in the neck, sometimes difficulty in swallowing. So whenever you have any of these warning signs I suggest that you must go and meet a specialist mostly an oncologist or surgeon. He would look into your oral cavity and examine it in detail and complete clinical examination, sometimes they also do a laryngoscopy, that is an endoscopic examination of the throat and then subject the ulcer or tumor through a biopsy.

We will take a small tissue of the tumor and subject it to histology to confirm the diagnosis. Once it is confirmed that you have oral cancer, you need treatment. Currently, the standard of treatment of oral cancer is surgical resection. The tumor in oral cavitiy are 3-dimensional structure, so you need a three-dimensional excision of the tumor to remove the entire tumor in totality. In current surgical practice a lot of emphasis on cosmesis, most of the time the defect in oral cavity is closed with reconstructive method usually a microvascular flap. So this helps in achieving good cosmesis, good functional outcome, specially functional outcome in terms of speech and swallowing. Depending upon your nodal disease in the neck on the basis of the CT scan or MRI of the neck, we also add a neck dissection to the same side of the surgery. Some of these patients in spite of surgery also need additional therapy or some form of chemotherapy to prevent the recurrence. So my tip for the day would be to quit smoking, quit alcohol and tobacco if you are in that habit. Look into your oral cavity at least once a month and if you have any of these warning signs, always go to your doctor.

Thank you!

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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