What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer or mouth cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that includes cancers in various part of mouth including lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat). It occurs due to uncontrolled growth of cells or sore in any part of oral cavity.
It can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early. In general, 10.5 adults per 100,000 has chances of developing oral cancer. Oral cancer rates are considerably higher for males than for females. Oral cancer accounts 11.28% of all cancers in men, and 4.3% of all cancers in women.
Basic Statistics You Need To Know:
In India, in men, Oral cancer is about 16.1% of all cancer types. According to Globcon, in 2018, 92011 new cases of oral cancer cases are registered.
Whereas in women it is 10.4% of all cancers.
Total no. of deaths due to mouth cancer are 72,616.
It has been observed that about 80-90% patients of oral cancer are due to tobacco consumption.
Survival rate (5-year)
Patients with early stage oral cancer: 82%
Patients with advanced stages: 27%
What are types of oral cancer?
- Types of oral cancer listed below:Squamous cell carcinoma: Normally, the throat and mouth are lined with so-called squamous cells, which are flat and look like fish scales on a microscopic level. Squamous cell carcinoma develops when some squamous cells mutate and become abnormal.
Verrucous carcinoma: This type of Oral cancer is slow-growing cancer made up of squamous cells. This type of oral cancer is rarely spread cancer to other parts of the body, but it may invade nearby tissue.Minor salivary gland carcinomas: This disease includes various types of oral cancer that may develop on the minor salivary glands, which are located throughout the lining of the mouth and throat. Lymphoma: This cancer develop in lymph tissue, which is part of the immune system, are known as lymphomas.Benign oral cavity tumors: Some types of non-cancerous tumors and tumor-like conditions may develop in the oral cavity and oropharynx. Sometimes, these conditions may lead to develop into cancer. For this reason, benign tumors are often surgically removed.
Leukoplakia and Erythroplakia: These are precancerous(those having the potential to become cancer conditions develop when certain types of abnormal cells form in the mouth or throat.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer:
- Swellings / thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
- The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
- Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
- A soreness in the throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
- Ear pain
- A change in the appearance of teeth or dentures fit together
Weight loss without taking any efforts
Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. But you must discuss these symptoms with doctor, since a correct and early diagnosis can increase chances of successful treatment. Also, these symptoms may signal other health problems. If you see any symptoms of Oral cancer then do visit at Oncoxpert to meet our experienced team of Doctors.
What are risk factors of Oral Cancer:
- Smoking,Cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers are having six times more risk of developing oral cancer than non-smokers.
- Smokeless tobacco users: Persons who use dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop oral cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol: Persons who consume alcohol regularly are having 6 times more risk of developing oral cancer than in non-drinkers.
- Family history of cancer: If any of the person in family is having oral cancer then risk of developing oral cancer increases.
Excessive sun exposure: especially at a young age.
Other risk factors include:
- Gender: About two thirds of people diagnosed with oral cancer are men.
- Age: These cancers are found most often in people over 45.
- Prolonged sun exposure, which can lead to lip cancer
- Long-term irritation caused by ill-fitting dentures
- Poor nutrition, especially a diet low in fruits and vegetables
- Immunosuppressive drugs
- Previous head and neck cancer
- Radiation exposure
How is oral cancer diagnosed?
At First, your doctor or dentist will perform a physical exam which includes closely examining the roof and floor of your mouth, the back of your throat, tongue, and cheeks, and the lymph nodes in your neck.
If dentist is unable to determine why you’re having your symptoms, you may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.
If your doctor finds any tumors, growths, or suspicious lesions, they’ll perform a brush biopsy or a tissue biopsy. A brush biopsy is a painless test that collects cells from the tumor by brushing them onto a slide.
A tissue biopsy involves removing a piece of the tissue so it can be examined under a microscope for cancerous cells.
In addition, your doctor may perform one or more of the following tests:
- X-rays to see if cancer cells have spread to the jaw, chest, or lungs
- CT scan to reveal any tumors in your mouth, throat, neck, lungs, or elsewhere in your body
- PET scan to determine if the cancer has traveled to lymph nodes or other organs
- MRI scan to show a more accurate image of the head and neck, and determine the extent or stage of the cancer
- Endoscopy to examine the nasal passages, sinuses, inner throat, windpipe, and trachea
What are the stages of oral cancer?
- There are four stages of oral cancer:Stage 1:The tumor is 2 centimeters (cm) or smaller, and the cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes.
- Stage 2: In this stage tumor is between 2-4 cm, and cancer cells have not spread to the lymph nodes.
- Stage 3: In this stage tumor is either larger than 4 cm and has not spread to the lymph nodes, or is any size and has spread to one lymph node, but not to other parts of the body.
- Stage 4: Tumors are any size and the cancer cells have spread to nearby tissues, the lymph nodes, or other parts of the body.
What are treatment options for Oral Cancer?
- Oral Cancer Treatment:Oral cancer treatment depends upon cancer stage, location of tumour, overall health of patient and his preferences. Person may have to undergo a combination of cancer treatments that includes surgery to remove tumour, followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy to destroy remaining cancer (if any).SurgerySurgery for mouth cancer may include:
- Surgery to remove the tumour:Oral cancer surgeon cut the tumour along with healthy tissue that surrounds it to ensure all of the cancer cells have been removed.
- Surgery to remove cancer that has spread to the neck: If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes of neck or if there’s a high risk that this has happened based on the size or depth of your cancer, then your surgeon may recommend a procedure to remove lymph nodes and related tissue in your neck (neck dissection).
- Surgery to reconstruct the mouth: After removal of cancer, your oral cancer surgeon may recommend you for reconstructive surgery to rebuild your mouth so that you can regain the ability to talk and eat. In reconstruction surgery, surgeon uses grafts of skin, from other parts of your body to reconstruct your mouth. This surgery may affect your mouth appearance, as well as your ability to speak, eat and swallow.
- Radiation therapyRadiation therapy is usually done after surgery. High energy beams are used to kill cancer cells. Sometimes it is used alone for oral cancer treatment. In some cases it is combined with chemotherapy. In advanced stages of oral cancer, radiation therapy may help to relieve signs and symptoms caused by the cancer, such as pain.The side effects of radiation therapy to your mouth may include dry mouth, tooth decay and damage to your jawbone.
- ChemotherapyIn chemotherapy, chemicals are used to kill cancer cells. It can be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments. Common side effects of chemotherapy include nausea, vomiting and hair loss.
- Targeted drug therapyTargeted drugs alter the specific aspects of cancer cells that stimulate their growth. Targeted drugs can be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Side effects include skin rash, itching, headache, diarrhea and infections.
- ImmunotherapyImmunotherapy uses your own immune system to fight against cancer. Immunotherapy treatments are usually recommended for people with advanced mouth cancer that’s not responding to standard treatments.
When to see a cancer specialist?
As soon as you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms remaining more than 2 weeks, immediately contact cancer specialist near you. He will diagnose all the signs to confirm the cancer and will guide you for the oral cancer treatment.
Why should you choose OncoXpert for your Oral Cancer treatment?
At OncoXpert Cancer we provide most advanced oral cancer treatment. We keep our patients at the centre of all of our work and constantly think about how we can support you and your loved ones at every turn.
We have team of highly experienced oncologists that are dedicated to providing you with the very best possible care and treatment. We have our branches in 5 major cities of India i.e. Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Lucknow and Hyderabad.