Oral cancer (mouth cancer) originates in the oral cavity. It can develop in any part of the mouth, such as the lips, roof of the mouth, the floor of the mouth, tongue, gums, cheeks, inner linings, salivary glands, and the pharynx. It mostly affects the elderly. Oral cancer is found more in men than women.
Types of Oral Cancer
The common types of oral cancer are:
- Adenocarcinoma: It develops inside the salivary glands.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: It originates in the oral lining and is the most common oral cancer.
- Basal cell carcinoma: It develops on the lips. It is the 2nd most common oral cancer.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The common symptoms of oral cancer are:
- Difficulty or pain in swallowing
- Soreness on a lip or mouth that does not heal
- Loose teeth with difficulty in chewing
- Mouth pain
- Ear pain
- Difficulty in moving the jaw
- A lump inside your mouth or in the lymph glands in the neck
- A reddish-white patch on the inner linings of your mouth
- Change in voice
- Difficulty in speaking
- Numbness in lip, face, neck, or chin
If the patients experience any symptoms that cause concern about oral cancer, they should consult a physician. At HCG Manavata Cancer Center, we have the best oral cancer specialists in Nashik who are skilled at diagnosing, treating and managing oral cancers successfully.
Causes of Oral Cancer
Many risk factors increase the chances of oral cancer, such as:
Age above 60 years
Chewing tobacco and smoking
Poor oral hygiene
A weak immune system
A family history of oral cancer
Exposure to certain chemicals and chronic facial sun exposure
Having an unhealthy diet
Chewing betel nuts and gutka
Human papillomavirus infection
The patient should visit the best mouth cancer hospital in Nashik to determine the cause of cancer.
Diagnosis of Oral Cancer
The different methods for the diagnosis of oral cancer are:
- Physical examination: The patient undergoes a comprehensive oral examination to determine abnormal growth or lump and white or red patches.
- Barium swallow: X-rays are used in the barium swallow method to detect the presence of abnormal tissues in the throat and esophagus.
- Biopsy: The doctor takes a sample of tissue from the suspected area or lesion from the mouth. It is then sent to the laboratory to determine the presence of cancerous cells.
- Imaging tests: Imaging tests detect oral cancer, its depth of invasion, and lymph node metastasis. The different types of imaging tests performed are:
- MRI: It helps access soft tissue involvement and provides a 3-D display of oral cancer.
- Ultrasound: Sound waves, used in ultrasound, produce an image of the oral cavity and evaluate oral tissues for cancer.
- CT Scan: CT scan helps to determine whether cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes in the neck, to the hard palate, jawbone, or distant body organs.
- Panendoscopy: The doctors perform the panendoscopy to evaluate the upper respiratory tract, including the larynx, esophagus, trachea, and bronchi, for cancer.
- Chest X-ray: It is done to ascertain if cancer has spread to the lungs.
Treatment for Oral Cancer
Our team strives to offer advanced oral cancer treatment in Nashik. The different types of methods used for oral cancer treatment are:
Surgery: It is the first choice of treatment for oral cancer. Reconstructive surgery can be done later to restore the functions and appearance of cancer-affected areas. The different surgeries performed are:
- Tumour resection: The tumor and nearby healthy tissue are removed from the oral cavity.
- Glossectomy: It is performed to remove cancer on the tongue.
- Mandibulectomy: The surgeon removes all or a part of the affected mandible (lower jawbone).
- Maxillectomy: If cancer has spread to the maxilla (upper jawbone), the doctor may perform a maxillectomy to remove the affected part.
Chemotherapy: The doctor may suggest chemotherapy for oral cancer to shrink large-size tumors before the surgery and for cancer that cannot be removed through surgery. The doctor may also use chemotherapy and radiation therapy to prevent cancer recurrence after the surgery. Chemotherapy may also be included in the treatment strategy when the patient has oral metastasis cancer.
Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy works by restoring the ability of the immune system to attack oral cancer cells. Cancer cells produce certain substances that help them to hide from the immune system. Immunotherapy interferes with the production of these substances and makes the cancer cells vulnerable to drugs.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy can be used alone as the main treatment or administered before or after the surgery. In some cases, it may also ease the signs and symptoms of oral cancer.
Targeted therapy: In this therapy, drugs target the cellular processes vital for cancerous cells. Targeted therapy is mainly used for difficult-to-treat advanced-stage cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does human papillomavirus cause cancer?
It has been found that HPV may increase the number of cases of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx.
What steps can I take to prevent the recurrence of oral cancer?
You should continue follow-up with the doctor so that if cancer comes back, it can be detected and treated early as possible. Stop smoking and eating tobacco, limit alcohol consumption, exercise daily, and have a balanced diet.
Will I need reconstructive surgery after oral cancer?
The doctor may recommend reconstructive surgery for oral cancer to emphasize function and appearance. However, it also depends on your preference and health. Reconstructive surgery includes reconstruction of the mouth through the skin, muscle, and bone transplant. It may also involve the use of dental implants.
Why are lymph nodes removed?
Oral cancer mostly spreads to the lymph nodes in the neck. So, the doctor may remove the lymph nodes if they are suspicious of them being cancerous. However, they need not be removed in every oral cancer surgery.
What are the potential side effects of oral cancer treatment?
Apart from side effects that may affect appearance and functions, oral cancer treatment can cause weight loss, fatigue, taste change, problems in chewing or swallowing, diarrhea, and dry mouth.