There are over 300,000 cases of oral and lip cancer worldwide. Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, develops in the mouth’s tissues (oral cavity). Men are at a higher risk of getting it than women.
This is a life-threatening condition if not diagnosed and treated early. It presents itself as growths or sores in the mouth that do not go away. Many cases are discovered when it has already spread to the neck lymph nodes. It is essential to have regular dental visits, which involve an examination of the mouth, lips, throat, and face. Additionally, your doctor may also screen you for oral cancer. To be safe, it is essential to know the early signs of oral cancer should they occur.
Oral cancer occurs in the following areas of the body;
There are several types of mouth cancers, categorized as head and neck cancers Cancer that affects the mouth and the oropharynx is known as oropharyngeal cancer.
The stages and grade of oral cancer help determine your treatment. It also lets the doctors know how cancer might behave or present itself. The three grades include:
Grade 1: This means that the cancer cells look like typical mouth cells. It is a low grade of oral cancer.
Grade 2: This is the intermediate grade. It looks slightly different than typical mouth cells.
Grade 3: This is the highest grade, and the cancer cells look abnormal, unlike the normal mouth cells.
A physical examination and the results of your tissue biopsy will determine the stage of your cancer. The following are the basic stages of oral cancer:
Stage 0 Mouth Cancer: It is also known as carcinoma in situ (CIS), the very early stage of oral cancer. In this stage, the abnormal cells in the lip lining and oral cavity are likely to become oral cancer.
Stage I Mouth Cancer: This describes the earliest stage of invasive cancer, meaning the tumor has not spread to the lymph nodes, tissues, or other organs. The tumor is not more than 2 centimeters and is 5 millimeters deep or less.
Stage II Mouth Cancer: In this stage, cancer has not spread to the nearby lymph nodes or organs, and the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller but not more than 4 centimeters, deeper than 5 millimeters, but not deeper than 10milimetres.
Stage III Mouth Cancer: The cancer is any size, but one lymph node contains cancer cells, and the tumor is larger than 4 centimeters.
Stage IV Mouth Cancer: This means cancer has advanced. It may be any size and has spread to nearby tissues, other parts of the oral cavity, and areas beyond the mouth such as the lungs. The lymph nodes are more than 3 centimeters in size.
Common symptoms include:
You should make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you have persistent pain lasting more than two weeks or an infection.
The exact cause of oral cancer is not known. The following factors may increase the risk of oral cancer:
Most mouth cancers begin in the squamous cells lined up in the lips and the inside the mouth cavity. Mouth cancers develop when lips or mouth cells mutate their DNA. The mutation changes inform the cells to continue growing and multiply while the healthy cells continue to die. A tumor is formed by the accumulated abnormal cancer cells. The cancerous cells spread to other areas in your mouth and eventually other body parts.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus and those sexually active get HPV at some time in life. This virus causes cancers of the mouth, especially in men over 50 years and those with multiple sexual partners.
Other risk factors include:
The determination of tests to be done is based on your condition. Tests include:
Physical examination: An oral screening exam is done by a dentist who will check and feel any lump or tissue changes in the neck, head, face, and oral cavity. They will look for any sores or discolored tissues and other abnormalities.
An endoscopy might be done to get a better look into your mouth. Cell samples may also be examined under a microscope. Your doctor may take biopsy samples depending on the nature of the problem.
Your doctor may order imaging tests to determine how far it spread. They include:
Treatment depends on:
Treatment options include:
There is no proven way to prevent oral cancer. However, you can minimize the risk by:
Oral cancer is treatable. Get screened regularly to prevent the condition or detect it in its early stages for effective treatment. For more information please contact Los Alamitos Dental Care.