Learn More About Mouth Cancer or Oral Cancer
Mouth cancer (also known as oral cancer) is defined as cancer that develops in the oral cavity or mouth affecting other parts including the lips, gums, tongue, inner lining of the cheeks, roof of the mouth, area below the tongue, pharynx, hard and soft palate, etc. Oral cancer generally develops when malignant cells from any part of the mouth grow uncontrollably. It can become life-threatening if not detected and treated at the early stages. Oral cancer or mouth cancer is generally grouped into the head and neck category of cancers as the treatment of these cancers are almost similar.
Causes of mouth cancer
When the mutations cause a change in the cells of the lips or mouth, it leads to mouth cancer. These changes in the DNA of the cells let the abnormal or atypical cells to grow continuously, leading to the formation of a tumour. This tumour may spread to other areas of the head & neck as well as other parts of the body. Oral cancer affects the flat, thin cells (squamous cells) that line the lips and inner part of the mouth. Hence, squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of oral cancer.
Risk factors of mouth cancer
Here are some of the risk factors that are involved in the development of mouth or oral cancer:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars and snuffs
- Chewing tobacco
- A weak immune system due to malnutrition and other reasons
- Sharp teeth which may result in buccal mucosa or tongue irritation and chronic trauma
- Excessive exposure to sunlight which may result in lip cancer
- Poor dental hygiene
Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer
Various common signs and symptoms that can be observed in the early stages of mouth or oral cancer are:
- Weight loss
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Presence of something at the back of throat
- Pain in ear
- Loosening of teeth
- Continuous coughing
- Chronic sore throat and hoarseness in voice
- Occurrence of red, white or dotted patches in the mouth
- Feeling of numbness and pain in any part of the mouth, face or neck
- Thickening or swelling in any part of the mouth
- Occurrence of hard and rough spots and crusts on the gums, lips and other parts of the mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing
Stages of mouth cancer
Stage 0: The development of abnormal cells in the lining of the oral cavity or lips is called stage zero of mouth cancer.
Stage 1: In this stage, the tumour is less than 2 cm in size and may not spread to the lymph nodes.
Stage 2: In stage 2, the cancer cells have grown in size from 2-4 cm but have not spread to the lymph nodes.
Stage 3: In this stage, the cancer cells have grown larger than 4 cm and start affecting the lymph nodes.
Stage 4: With the advancement in the level of mouth cancer, stage 4 tumours may differ in size and may affect various parts of the head and neck such as:
- Jaws and other organs of the oral cavity
- Single or multiple lymph nodes
- Distant body parts like lungs
Treatment of mouth cancer
The treatment of oral cancer completely depends upon the stage and location of cancer. Here are some of the effective treatments used to treat a person suffering from mouth cancer:
- Radiotherapy: In this treatment, cancer cells present in the oral cavity are killed by using high frequency energy beams.
- Surgery: In this method of treatment, surgeons remove the tumour present in the oral cavity surgically.
- Targeted Drug Therapy: This therapy uses targeted drugs which contain some proteins of the cancer cell to destroy the tumour.
- Chemotherapy: In this treatment, some chemotherapeutic drugs are injected into the body to kill cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy: This therapy is widely used to treat oral cancer by enhancing the immune system to fight against cancer cells.
Prevention from mouth cancer
We cannot prevent oral cancer but we can reduce its risk by following these prevention tips:
- Avoid smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars and snuffs
- Limit the consumption of alcohol
- Avoid excessive sun exposure as much as possible
- Maintain a good oral and dental hygiene
Oral cancer can be successfully treated if detected in early stages. Even a small delay can spread the cancer to other parts of the body. If any sign and symptom bothers you for more than a week then you must consult a doctor. You can book an appointment at YASHODA SUPERSPECIALITY HOSPITAL AND CANCER INSTITUTE, SANJAY NAGAR, GHAZIABAD. The doctors at Yashoda use a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose and treat all kinds of diseases including mouth cancer. They provide a wide variety of mouth cancer treatments like chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, etc.
Best hospital, doctors and surgeons of mouth cancer treatment in Delhi NCR & Ghaziabad
Dr. (Maj. Gen.) B.N. Kapur, Director of Medical Oncology, has a speciality in medical oncology and in treating blood-related disorders like leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, etc. He has served in the army for more than 36 years as a medical oncologist.
Dr. (Brig.) Arvind Kumar Tyagi, Director of Surgical Oncology, possesses more than 30 years of medical experience. He has pursued his fellowship and training in surgical oncology from the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai along with an exceptional career in the armed forces where he served for almost 30 years.