Signs and Symptoms of Mouth Cancer

Signs and Symptoms of Mouth Cancer - welzo

Signs and Symptoms of Mouth Cancer

An overview

Cancer is an abnormal cell division that forms cancerous cells instead of normal cells. Cancer is considered the second most common cause of death in the world. According to the American cancer society, mouth/oral cancer is the most common cancer among head and neck cancer. Oral cancer may be found anywhere in the oral cavity, but the tongue and floor of the oral cavity are relatively common sites. Many risk factors are linked with oral cancer. For example, sharp edges of a tooth can damage healthy tissue and develop mouth cancer. Therefore regular dental check-ups are recommended to seek medical advice and detect oral cancer at early stages.

The standard type of mouth cancer

Squamous cell carcinoma is the most commonly found cancer among oropharyngeal cancer. Early detection of squamous cell carcinoma is the key to successful management. It involves the floor oral cavity and may spread to nearby tissues. The noticeable symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma include persistent lesions with different colours and characteristics from the surrounding tissue. Sometimes, the symptoms are exacerbated and accompanied by mouth pain. On physical examination, enlarged head and neck lymph nodes may also be noticed.

Cancer's location is critical in the early diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma. Large lesions inside your mouth are usually treated with combinations of neck surgery and radiation therapy. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells.

After a complete cure, the remaining tissue requires reconstructive surgery and can involve a vascularized free flap.

Risk factors of mouth cancer

Chewing tobacco

High provenance of oral cancer has been found in people who hold tobacco in the oral cavity. Chewing tobacco produces white patches inside your mouth, and later on, it converts the healthy tissue into cancer cells. Chewing tobacco is linked chiefly to squamous cells.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted virus. It is the crucial virus involved in oropharyngeal cancer. It takes several years to develop oral cancer after HPV infection. However, treatment at early stages can prevent oral cancer. HPV and oropharyngeal cancer may require radiation therapy to kill cancer cells and relieve the symptoms.

Poor diet

Clinical studies have suggested that missing some nutrients ingredients from your diet may result in oral cancer. For example, some vitamins have antioxidant properties which kill cancerous cells and prevent you from developing oral cancer. In addition, retinoids inhibit carcinogens and reduce the chance of oral cancer. A poor diet can also reduce the immune system of the body.

Radiation therapy for other cancer

Radiation therapy used to treat cancer successfully may alter cell division and produce cancerous cells in the head, neck, and oral cavity.

Other risk factors in mouth cancer include

  • Weakened immune system

  • Excessive sun exposure

  • Chemotherapy involves

  • Persistent irritations inside the mouth by mouth loose teeth.

  • Genetics

  • Age

  • Bacterial infection

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer

White patches

White or red rush is scattered all around the cheeks and surrounding tissues. White patches may disappear by themselves but sustained for a long time can be suspicious of oral cancer. Therefore such patches require more frequent check-ups to exclude mouth cancer.

Mouth cancer lesions characteristics

Oral cancer lesions have specific characteristics and can be identified on physical examination. The lesion is most probably found on the floor of the mouth and is present for a longer duration inside the mouth. The lesion has a rolled border of bright red colour and firmly adheres to the nearby tissues. A brush biopsy is performed to confirm oral cancer, which shows cancerous cells.

Weight loss

Weight loss is the first noticeable symptom of every cancer. According to the American society of clinical oncology, about 50% of patients with mouth cancer are reported to experience weight loss. Weight loss can also occur with mouth cancer treatment after radiation therapy.

Loss of teeth

Mouth cancer, which metastasises to the teeth's supporting structures in the oral cavity, may cause tooth loss. High-grade mobility is observed on examination in patients who have oral cancer. Cancer cells destroy the tooth ligaments and lead the tooth to mobility.

Enlarged lymph nodes

The lymphatic system is an extensive system in our body that carries lymph fluid in their vessels and helps in boosting our immune system. In addition, the lymph fluid contains white blood cells and other defensive elements of our body.

A network of lymph nodes in the head and neck region drains from the oropharyngeal structure. This lymphatic system may be enlarged in the presence of oropharyngeal cancer. In addition, mouth cancer may spread to the lymph nodes in the neck.

Mouth pain

In the case of mouth cancer, the lesion persists for a longer duration and is sometimes exacerbated, which bleeds and results in pain inside the mouth. This pain may worsen during swallowing. Dental and craniofacial research shows that pain in swallowing is mainly linked to head and neck cancers.

Oral cavity cancer treatment

For successful treatment, early detection of oral cancer is imperative.

The following are the treatment options for mouth cancer:

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a crucial treatment option not only for mouth cancer but also for other cancers. It kills cancerous cells and normalises healthy tissue. Radiation therapy uses high-energy particles depending on the stage of oropharyngeal cancer.

It helps relieve the symptoms of oral cancer, such as pain, swelling, and bleeding. However, radiation therapy has severe effects on the body, such as hair loss, chest infection, and a weakened immune system.

Surgical treatment

The surgeon surgically resects the cancerous cells in the head and neck cancers. It is one of the most commonly used treatment options for the treatment of oral cancer.

Remove lymph nodes

The enlarged lymph nodes should be removed from the oral cancer region so that recurrence of oral cancer is not possible.

For more information on other types of Cancer, click here.

How to prevent oral cancer

To prevent mouth cancer, it is necessary to examine your oral cavity by a qualified health professional. Any abnormality should be treated at the early stages. The risk factor which causes oropharyngeal cancer, such as using tobacco, HPV infection and damaged tissue, must be avoided to reduce the chance of oral cancer. In addition, improve your diet and boost your immune system.

To learn more about Mouth Care, see our information page here.
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