What Is Mouth Cancer or Oral Cancer?
The mouth cavity is home to many different types of tissue including skin, muscle, bone, teeth, nerves, sinuses, and mucous membranes. There are several different types of cancers that affect the mouth.
These cancers may occur in the lining of the lips, tongue, floor of the mouth, gums, inside cheeks, roof of the mouth, hard palate (roof of the mouth), soft palate (roof of mouth), tonsils, lymph nodes under the jaw, throat, nose, larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe), esophagus (food pipe), salivary glands, thyroid gland, breast tissue, ovaries, prostate, pancreas, colon, rectum, liver, and stomach.
Cancer of the head and neck occurs when cells mutate due to environmental factors, aging, genetics, and lifestyle choices. In the United States alone, around half a million people develop oral cancer each year. Unfortunately, only about 10 percent survive five years after diagnosis. The treatment cost of oral cancer in India can be differ according to stages of Cancer
Symptoms of Mouth Cancer
Mouth cancer symptoms often do not appear until the disease is advanced. Common symptoms include soreness, pain, swelling, ulcers, bleeding, difficulty swallowing, changes in voice, trouble breathing, and weight loss. However, some patients have no symptoms at all. You should contact your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.
Treatment Options for Oral Cancers
There are three primary treatment options for oral cancers: surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Each option comes with its own set of risks and side effects. Your doctor will discuss these options with you and recommend the best course of action based on your condition.
Surgery involves removing the tumor and surrounding tissue. It is often recommended when tumors are small and located in accessible locations. Tumors located in inaccessible areas, such as the base of the skull, cannot be removed surgically.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. While radiation therapy is effective, it does carry certain risks. Side effects may include dry mouth, skin irritation, hair loss, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and decreased appetite.
Chemotherapy drugs attack rapidly dividing cells such as those found in tumors. The goal of chemotherapy is to shrink the size of the tumor before removing it surgically. Chemotherapy is generally given prior to surgical removal of the tumor to decrease the risk of spreading cancer cells throughout the body.
Prevention of Oral Cancer or Mouth Cancer
Brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss regularly
Brushing your teeth and using dental floss are two of the best ways to prevent oral cancers. Brushing removes food particles stuck between your teeth and helps remove bacteria that cause plaque buildup. Flossing gets rid of debris that’s trapped between your teeth and under your gum line. If you have any type of tobacco use, quitting smoking is the number one way to reduce your risk of developing mouth cancer.
Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol consumption increases the risk of mouth cancer, especially if you drink heavily or over time. If you’re drinking alcohol, limit yourself to no more than three drinks per day. You should also avoid consuming foods and beverages containing high amounts of sugar. Sugar-rich foods and beverages include soda, candy, fruit juices, sweetened coffee and tea, and other sweets.
Avoid chewing tobacco or using smokeless tobacco products
Chewing tobacco and using smokeless tobacco products increase your risk of mouth cancer. Chewers may find it difficult to quit these habits, but they can help prevent mouth cancer by reducing their exposure to carcinogens. Smokeless tobacco users often develop bad breath and sores inside their mouths. These conditions could lead them to seek treatment sooner.
Get regular checkups
Mouth cancer is diagnosed early when symptoms appear. Regular visits to the dentist or doctor are recommended to detect mouth lesions before they become serious problems. Early detection helps ensure that patients receive prompt care and appropriate treatments.
Quitting smoking reduces your risk of mouth cancer by about 50 percent. Smoking causes damage to the cells lining the mouth, increasing your chances of developing mouth cancer. Quitting also lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Practice safe sex
Having unprotected sexual contact with someone who smokes or uses drugs makes you more likely to get HIV/AIDS. If you’re sexually active, make sure you practice safe sex. Use condoms or abstain from having sex to protect yourselves from getting infections.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help keep mouth cancer at bay.
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