The mouth is one of the parts of the body that needs constant maintenance and care. The mouth will have several challenges, most of them are about teeth. Amongst all the problems, some diseases also affect the gums and tongue. These include oral cancer. Although oral cancer is rare, it can be perilous if infected. Join StrAIberry to learn more about oral cancer.
Oral cancer develops in the mouth, tongue, floor of the mouth, palate, and gums. Oral cancer is caused by malignant cell growth in the mouth or tongue. Although this type of cancer is rare, it is also perilous. Oral cancer may affect the lips, palate, and tongue, inner membranes of the lips or cheeks, and the tonsils. It is more common in adults and people over the age of 40, but it is also on the rise today among young people who use chewing tobacco.
In other words, oral cancer occurs because of the root canal infection, which may be a continuation of the swelling elsewhere in the mouth or throat or other tissues in the mouth.
Oral cancer is one of the cancers that spread rapidly throughout the body. At first, cancer appears as non-cancerous canker sores, a red rash, or ulcers in the mouth, which gradually turn into a cancerous tumor. This type of cancer is common in men and women but is more common in middle-aged men between the ages of 40 and 60.
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Types of oral cancer
There are five types of oral cancers:
- Salivary gland cancer, also known as glandular cancer.
- Cancer caused by lesions of melanin pigment cells in the skin inside the mouth, known as melanin cancer.
- Cancer caused by a genetic spread, known as a hormonal tumor.
- Cancer caused by lymph nodes and tonsils lesions, known as lymphatic cancer.
- Cancer, caused by inflammation of the inner skin of the lips and mouth.
Symptoms of oral cancer
The early signs of oral cancer have some symptoms. It is best to talk to a cancer specialist and a reputable cancer diagnosis and treatment center first. The doctor usually performs a series of initial checkups and, if in doubt, prescribes special tests.
- Mouth sores do not heal
- The teeth are loose
- Feeling of pain in the mouth and ears
- Having trouble chewing and swallowing
- Abnormal lump growth inside the mouth and cheeks
- Change of the sound or problems with speech
- Unintentional weight loss
- Bad Breath
- Swelling in the mouth
- Bleeding or numbness in the mouth
- Red or white patches on the lining of your mouth. These are common and are rarely a sign of cancer, but they can sometimes turn into cancer, so it’s worth seeing a doctor if you have them
Tumors are usually small in size with no specific color, which grow gradually and become cancerous. Painless swelling, a lump on the tongue, and difficulty swallowing are some of the symptoms of cancer. If you notice a tumor in your mouth, you should see a doctor immediately. By taking proper steps, you can stop cancer in its early stages.
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Oral cancer diagnosis
The doctor uses a clinical examination to determine if the patient needs to be sampled and tested in a pathobiology laboratory. Keep in mind that the sooner the disease is diagnosed, the easier it will be to treat. After clinical examination confirmed cancer, and in case of rapid diagnosis, the tumor is removed by surgery. In benign tumor surgery, no lesion occurs. Also, this method does not compromise the swallowing process and the ability to speak, which is in direct contrast to the procedures performed to diagnose cancer and cancerous tumors diagnosed after a long time.
When you diagnose mouth cancer in late stages, it is typically treated by surgery. After surgery, the mouth and jaw change in appearance, and some of the nerves in the throat and mouth are also destroyed.
To read more: All about root infection and treatments
Treatment of oral cancer
There are several ways to treat oral cancer, depending on the prevalence and stage of the disease, which generally includes the following:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted drug therapy
Surgery for oral cancer may include the following:
Surgery to remove the tumor. Your surgeon may remove the tumor and the margin of healthy tissue that surrounds it to make sure all the cancer cells have been removed. Smaller cancers can be removed with minor surgery. Larger tumors may require more extensive methods. For example, removing a massive tumor may involve removing part of your jawbone or part of your tongue.
Surgery to remove cancer that has spread to the neck. If the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes in your neck, or if there is a high risk of this happening depending on the size or depth of your cancer, your surgeon may recommend a procedure to remove the lymph nodes and related tissues in your neck (neck dissection). The neck dissection removes cancer cells that may have spread to your lymph nodes. It is also helpful in determining if you need additional treatment after surgery.
Oral reconstruction surgery. After surgery to remove cancer, your surgeon may recommend reconstructive surgery to rebuild your mouth to help you take back the ability to talk and eat. Your surgeon may transplant skin, muscle, or bone grafts from other parts of your body to remodel your mouth. Dental implants may also be used to replace your natural teeth.
Surgery carries the risk of bleeding and infection. Oral cancer surgery often affects your appearance as well as your ability to speak, eat and swallow. You may need a tube to help you eat, drink and take medicine. For short-term use, the tube may be inserted through your nose and into your stomach. In the long run, a tube may enter your stomach through your skin. Your doctor may refer you to specialists who can help you deal with these changes.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays such as X-rays and protons to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often done from outside your body (external beam radiation), although it can also be from beads and radioactive wires placed near your cancer (brachytherapy).
Radiation therapy is often used after surgery. But sometimes, if you have early-stage oral cancer, it may be used alone. In other conditions, treatment couples radiation therapy with chemotherapy. This combination increases the effectiveness of radiation therapy but also increases the side effects. In cases of advanced oral cancer, radiation therapy may help relieve the signs and symptoms of cancer, such as pain.
Side effects of radiation therapy on your mouth may include dry mouth, tooth decay, and damage to your jawbone.
Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs can be given alone, in combination with other chemotherapeutic drugs, or coupled with other cancer treatments. Chemotherapy may increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy, so the two are often carried out together.
The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the medication you are taking. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and hair loss.
- Targeted drug treatment
Targeted drugs treat oral cancer by altering certain aspects of the cancer cells that help them grow. Targeted drugs can be used alone or coupled with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Cetuximab (Erbitux) is a targeted treatment used to treat oral cancer in certain conditions. Cetuximab stops the function of a protein found in many types of healthy cells but is more common in certain types of cancer cells. Side effects include skin rash, itching, headache, diarrhea, and infection.
Immunotherapy uses your immune system to fight cancer. Your immune system, which fights disease, may not attack your cancer because cancer cells produce proteins that bind the cells of the immune system. Immunotherapy works by interfering with this process.
Immunotherapy is usually prescribed for people with advanced oral cancer who do not respond to standard treatments.
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There is no proven way to prevent oral cancer. However, you can reduce the risk of oral cancer if:
- Stop or do not start smoking
If you use tobacco, stop it. If you do not use tobacco, do not start. Tobacco use, whether smoked or chewed, exposes your oral cells to dangerous carcinogenic chemicals.
- Do not drink alcohol or only in moderation
Chronic excessive alcohol consumption can irritate your oral cells and make them vulnerable to oral cancer. If you want to drink alcohol, do it in moderation.
- Avoid exposing your lips to too much sunlight
If possible, protect the skin of your lips from sunlight by being in the shade. Wear a wide-brimmed hat that effectively shades your entire face, including your mouth. Use lip sunscreen as part of your sunscreen routine.
- See your dentist regularly
As part of a routine dental checkup, ask your dentist to examine your entire mouth for abnormal areas that may indicate oral cancer or precancerous changes.
StrAIberry is a dental care application that tries to maintain the health of your mouth and teeth by using artificial intelligence. The best way to have a healthy mouth and teeth is to maintain a standard dental routine and avoid risk factors. By knowing all about root infection and treatment and practices for having a healthy tooth, you can prevent oral problems as much as possible.
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