Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is where a tumour develops on the surface of the tongue, mouth, lips or gums. Symptoms include red or white patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue, and persistent ulcers or lumps that do not disappear.

Types

A cancer that develops on the inside or outside layer of the body is called a carcinoma andSquamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of mouth cancer, accounting for nine out of 10 cases. Squamous cells are found in many places around the body, including the inside of the mouth and under the skin.

 

Causes

Mouth cancer occurs when something goes wrong with the normal cell lifecycle, causing them to grow and reproduce uncontrollably. These cells are irritated by smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and in some cases infection of the HPV virus.

 

Who is affected by mouth cancer?

Oral cancer is an uncommon type of cancer, accounting for one in 50 of all cancer cases. It is more common in mature adults from ages 50 -70 and older, affecting more men than women. Oral cancer can develop in younger adults, but it is mainly caused by the HPV infection.

 

Treatment

There are three main treatment options for mouth cancer.

 

1. surgery – where the cancerous cells are surgically removed

2. chemotherapy – where powerful medications are used to kill cancerous cells

3. radiotherapy – where high energy X-rays are used to kill cancerous cells

 

These treatments can often be used in combination for particularly severe cases. For example, a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be given after surgery to help prevent the cancer returning.

Complications

Both surgery and radiotherapy can make speaking and swallowing difficult. This can become extremely problematic post surgery and escalate into a serious problem if pieces of food enter the airways, because it could lead to a chest infection.  Liquid food is highly recommended following surgery to prevent any further complications.

Reducing the risk

The three most effective ways to prevent mouth cancer from developing include not smoking, consuming sensible alcohol amounts (21 units for men and 14 for women) and eating a healthy, balanced diet, rich with fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins and adequate carbohydrates.

 

It's also important that you have regular dental check-ups because dentists can often spot the early stages of mouth cancer.

Outlook

The prognosis for oral cancer varies as with all cancer. Depending on which part of the mouth is affected and if it has spread to surrounding areas, the outlook is always improved if the cancer is diagnosed early. In this case, a complete cure is often possible using a combination of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery.

 

Overall, an estimated 40% of people with cancer affecting the mouth will live at least five years after their diagnosis and many people live much longer. As with all cancer, this relies on a swift diagnosis and effective treatment.

 


Related articles.

Displaying 6 to 10 of 289

Filling the Gaps with Implants

Missing teeth affect both your appearance and confidence. Worse still, any gaps left by missing teeth can cause great strain on the rest of the mouth and jaw. Having a gap can also affect the bite, because the teeth surrounding the space can lean and alter the way in which the top and bottom set bite together. Decay and gum disease are often prevalent if missing teeth are not filled because oral care begins to suffer.

.... read more

Early Childhood Tooth Decay

During early childhood, many changes occur in the mouth of a young child. The mouth supports important bodily functions from birth and throughout all ages, including; breathing, digestion, communication, and biological/physical protection. A healthy mouth for a young child is a cornerstone for life-long health and well-being.

.... read more

How to get Whiter Teeth

Over time and with age teeth begin to lose their naturally white appearance. Enamel becomes thinner and the inner layer begins to turn darker. Diet, age and poor dental hygiene are all culprits for staining teeth, and can make you feel incredibly self conscious. Fortunately there are a wide variety of solutions available from natural home remedies to chemically enhanced treatments, all promising to restore that pearly white smile. 

.... read more

The Benefits of Braces

Braces are a popular choice of orthodontics used to straighten crooked teeth, align the jaw and improve the aesthetics of smiles and faces. Alongside improving the physical appearance of the teeth, they can dramatically improve the health of the mouth, leading to improved oral health and in the long term, less health conditions. 

.... read more

Bad Breath Explained

According to a recent study ninety per cent of people between the ages of 16 and 40 feel that having bad breath is “the worst social mistake one can make”. It’s a pretty damning statistic. So what is it that causes this embarrassing condition - and what can you do about it?

.... read more

Oral Health by Regions

     

Oral Health Knowledge Base

     

Glossary