Oral cancers are abnormal growths in the mouth. It is a sore in the mouth that does not heal quickly. Oral cancer can develop in any part of the oral cavity including clips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard palate, soft palate, gums, sinuses, and pharynx.
Possible causes of oral cancer include:
- Genetic mutations
- Consumption of tobacco and/or alcohol
- Family history of cancer
Symptoms of oral cancers include:
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- A mouth sore that does not heal
- Difficulty or pain while chewing or swallowing
- A white or reddish patch inside your mouth
- Pain while speaking or chewing
- Teeth loss
- A growth in your mouth
- A change in teeth alignment
- Dramatic weight loss
- Ear pain
- Mouth pain
Diagnosis of oral cancers can be based on:
- Physical examination
- Oral cancer screening exam
- Imaging tests – CT, MRI, PET
Preventive measures for oral cancers include:
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid alcohol.
- Eat a well balanced diet
- Limit your exposure to the sun
- Have a routine dental examination
Treatment for oral cancer depends on several factors like its location, stage and overall health. Treatment methods for oral cancer include:
- Surgery: surgical removal of the tumour or cancer. This depends on the location and extent of the tumour. If cancer has spread to other parts, multiple surgeries might be required. Oral reconstructive surgery may also be recommended to regain the ability to talk and eat.
- Radiation therapy: use of high energy beams to destroy cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: use of drugs to destroy cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy: type of treatment that helps your immune system to fight cancer.
- Targeted drug therapy: a type of cancer treatment in which drugs are used that target specific aspects of cancer cells which help them grow and spread.
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