What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer is an abnormal, tumorous growth that can affect the head and neck region. There are a number of factors that can lead to the development of an oral cancer; it can either be a primary lesion originating from the head and neck tissues, or may have metastasized from another affected area in the body.
There are various different types of oral cancers, but the most common type seen in oncology departments and dental hospitals is the Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Cancerous lesions can either be benign or malignant, the latter has the potential to spread and affect other parts of the body, resulting in death of the patient in the absence of timely treatment. The prognosis of malignant oral cancers is generally poor as they can remain in the body affecting cells and tissues without exhibiting any prominent symptoms till the condition has metastasized or progressed extensively.
What are the symptoms of oral cancers?
It is difficult to diagnose cancer during its initial, developmental stages when all changes are taking place at cellular level. Mutations Oral cancer detection methodin the cell lead to the development of abnormal cells that can affect and damage healthy cells of the body, which is how cancer basically works. Well developed, prominent symptoms include red or white patches on oral soft tissues which do not resolve, it can also present as uneven margins or sores in the mouth causing discoloration of the natural tissue. Advanced symptoms include solid masses, warts, swellings, lumps or difficulty on breathing, chewing or opening the mouth completely.
Terms like ‘precancerous lesions’ or ‘premalignant lesions’ refer to any abnormal changes in the oral cavity that have the potential to progress into malignancy.
What are the factors responsible for causing oral cancers?
There are a number of factors that can lead to the development of a mouth cancer. The most common factors include excessive tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, chewing tobacco, compromised immune system, frequent exposure to harmful radiation, viral infections and family history of cancers.
Tobacco, betel nut and alcohol consumption are leading causative factors of oral cancers. However, certain viruses also cause cancer of the mouth, the most prominent of which is the Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV which is a sexually transmitted infection. A lifestyle that involves excessive smoking, alcohol drinking, multiple sexual partners or oral sex is most prone to cancer development.
How are cancers of the mouth diagnosed?
When an abnormal lesion is observed in the oral cavity, a biopsy is done to study its histology for the detection of mutated, cancerous cells. A definite diagnosis of cancer is made based on the results of the biopsy. Biopsy procedures are generally performed after administering local anesthesia at the affected site.
Can oral cancers be treated?
When the diagnosis has been established at an early stage, a multi-disciplinary approach is deployed for the treatment. This includes surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and dental and nutritional rehabilitation, and therefore involves a number of professionals. It is critical to prevent the metastasis of cancer to other parts of the body, and to destroy the abnormal cells at the region of their origin. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are used for the destruction and removal of cancerous cells from the body, whereas dental and nutritional rehabilitation address dietary deficiencies and oral restorations.
At Anatuni Family Dental, we offer professional consultation and advice for lifestyle modifications that can ensure optimal health and prevent the development of oral cancers. Our team of surgeons and oncologists are perhaps the best in Chandler, AZ, and highly skilled in diagnosis, treatment and management of oral cancers. Get in touch with us today on 480-821-4000 and have all your questions and queries related to oral cancers addressed promptly by experts!