Oral cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells called tumors that invade and damage the tissues surrounding it in or around the mouth. Oral cancer, like all other types of cancer, is life threatening if not diagnosed and treated in the early stages. There are eight types of oral cancer namely cancer in the throat, sinuses, hard and soft palate, floor of the mouth, gums, cheeks, tongue and lips. Dentists are usually the first ones to notice and detect the signs and symptoms of oral cancer. This condition is also known as oral cavity cancer. The risk factors and symptoms of oral cancer are mentioned below.
The symptoms of oral cancer, especially in the first stages, seem non- threatening and similar to common oral problems. However, visiting the doctor is mandatory to rule out cancer as an option. If you suffer from one or more of the following symptoms, visit your dentist immediately.
1. Thickenings and swellings, lumps or bumps, crusts, eroded areas or rough spots on the lips, gums or surrounding regions inside or around the mouth.
2. Bleeding in the mouth that is unexplainable.
3. Persistent sores near and around the mouth or throat that bleed easily and may take more than two weeks to heal.
4. Unexplained numbness or pain and tenderness in the mouth, throat or face.
5. Development of patches which are usually speckled, red or white in the mouth.
6. Sudden weight loss.
7. Excruciating pain in your ear.
8. Loose teeth.
9. Difficulty in swallowing.
10. Lumps in your neck.
11. Stiffness or pain in your jaw.
12. Pain in your tongue.
13. Dentures that fit poorly.
Men above 50 years of age face the greatest risk of developing oral cancer. Women are at a much lower risk of developing oral cancer than men.
The following factors increase your risk of developing oral cancer-
1. Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes
2. Snuff, dips or chewing tobacco
3. Consumption of alcohol excessively
4. History of oral or other types of cancer in the family
5. Chronic sun exposure, especially facial exposure
6. Sexually transmitted virus such as HPV
7. Diagnosed of oral cancer previously.
The oral cavity consists of the lips, gums, teeth, cheeks (buccal mucosa), the frontal 66% of the tongue, the hard top of the mouth (hard palate), the floor of the mouth beneath the tongue and the region behind the wisdom teeth (retromolar trigone). Development of oropharyngeal cancer occurs in the region of the throat behind the mouth, called the oropharynx. The oropharynx starts where the oral depression closes.
The World Health Organization states that oral cancer ranks eleventh in terms of the common cancer around the world. It is commonly found in men and its spread is slightly higher in developing countries. Excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco contributes to around 90% of oral cavity cancer cases.
Cancerous oral growth is dealt with procedures which are similar to treatments of different cancers i.e. with the assistance of surgery followed by radiation treatment. In radiation treatments, patients may need to manage the various side effects. Specialists at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) along with the Regional Cancer Centre in Kerala have made a mouthwash utilizing herbal substances, as recommended in Ayurveda, which can help in diminishing the intense amount of pain in patients experiencing radiation therapy for oral cancer.
Other important Ayurvedic remedies may entail the following: