Mouth Cancer: One Common Disease that Grapples Millions


Mouth Cancer: One Common Disease that Grapples Millions

Mouth cancer has become one of the most common diseases that grapple millions of people around the world every year. Smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or drinking alcohol are the primary causes of the mouth or oral cancer. If mouth cancer symptoms are spotted late, the cancerous cells can impact the patient’s head and neck area. Therefore, on-time diagnosis of mouth cancer (oral cancer) is vital to lessen the risk of the patient’s death and increase the chances of cancer reversal. 

If you or anyone else in your family has been struggling with mouth cancer, this article is for you. Let’s discuss in detail to learn about mouth cancer or oral cancer, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment. 

What is Mouth Cancer?

As the name suggests, mouth cancer or oral cancer impacts the region of the mouth. Furthermore, it can make the rear part of the tongue (oropharynx), saliva gland, lips, and back and the sides of your throat cancerous. This cancer develops in the squamous cells due to uncontrolled genetic mutation. The cells start to multiply and divide uncontrollably, leading to cancer cell growth in the mouth or tongue. 

Although the symptoms, like swelling or lump in the mouth, look like very normal symptoms in the beginning, at the later stage, the patient starts to experience sores, bleeding or white patches in the mouth. These are the precancerous mouth cancer signs that signal mouth cancer starting stage. However, on-time diagnosis can help in detecting early stage cheek and mouth cancer. This enhances the chances of mouth cancer reversal. Otherwise, this is a life-threatening condition like other forms of cancer. It can spread to the other organs of your body and make them cancerous. 

What are the Common Mouth Cancer Causes?

The most probable mouth cancer causes include:

  • Chewing tobacco
  • Smoking cigarettes 
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Excessive exposure to the sun
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Family  history of cancer
  • Epstein Barr virus 
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Poor oral hygiene.

What are the Common Mouth Cancer Symptoms?

Some common mouth or throat cancer symptoms include: 

  • Swelling or lump in the mouth, jaw, or neck
  • Sores in the mouth or lips that bleed
  • White or patches inside the mouth
  • A mouth ulcer that does not heal
  • Loose teeth
  • Numbness of tongue or mouth
  • Trouble in swallowing
  • Unexplained weight loss. 

Mouth Cancer Stages

With the help of diagnostic tests such as incisional biopsy and laryngoscopy, the healthcare professional identifies the mouth cancer or throat cancer stages. Based on the detected mouth cancer stage, the treatment is given to the cancer patient to prevent the further progression of the disease. It suggests to them how much the cancer has grown in the mouth and has expanded to other organs of the body.  

Usually, mouth cancer is staged with the acronym TNM. It stands for Timor, Node and Metastasis, which further describes cancer stages as:

T – Denotes the location and size of the tumour

N- If the tumour has grown to lymph nodes

M- When cancer cells are metastasised and have made other organs of the body cancerous

Go over the following points to understand the size of the tumour:

  • T1: Located in the mouth only; its tumour size is only 2 cm or less
  • T2: The size of the tumour is between 2 cm and 4 cm
  • T3: The size of the tumour is more than 4 cm

Mouth Cancer Treatment

Based on the precancerous mouth cancer symptoms, the healthcare professional recommends diagnosis tests for mouth or throat cancer-affected patients. Once they detect  the exact stage, they recommend the following mouth cancer treatment to the patients: 

Surgery

Depending on the severity of the cancer and the patient’s medical health, the doctor may feel the need for a surgical intervention. Types of surgeries include: 

  • Primary Tumour Surgery: To cure early-stage cheek mouth cancer, primary tumour surgery is done. Under this surgical treatment, the tumour is removed through the incision in the neck.
  • Glossectomy: To cure tongue cancer symptoms and to ensure no recurrence, glossectomy surgery is done. Under this surgery, a partial or complete tongue is removed
  • Maxillectomy: Under this surgical treatment, a partial or complete hard palate is removed.
  • Mandibulectomy: This surgery is performed in the jawbone.
  • Neck Dissection: Under this surgery, lymph nodes are removed from the neck.
  • Reconstructive Surgery: The objective of the reconstructive surgery is to fill the gaps left by other surgeries to remove tumours. Under this surgery, healthy bones or tissues are taken to fill the gap. 

Chemotherapy

Under this cancer treatment, the drugs are given to destroy cancer cells and inhibit cancer cell growth. This treatment may be paired with other cancer treatments such as radiation therapy or surgery.

Radiation Therapy

Strong beams of energy are given to inhibit the growth of mouth cancer cells. This therapy can be paired with other treatments as needed.

Targeted Therapy

Before doing the surgery, the targeted therapy is given to the mouth cancer-affected patients. The prime objective of this therapy is to inhibit the uncontrolled genetic mutation without harming the normal cells.

Immunotherapy

Under this treatment, the immune system is trained to hinder the further progression of mouth cancer. This ensures that the patient’s immune system is capable of fighting cancerous cells. 

Is Mouth Cancer Curable?

The answer is yes if it is detected on time. But prevention is always better than cure. By opting for some preventive measures, you can ensure that there are minimal chances of developing mouth cancer symptoms in your body. Hence, be mindful of the following preventive measures to avoid the chances of developing mouth cancer; 

  • Quit smoking
  • Limit the alcohol intake 
  • Avoid excessive exposure to the sun. Use UV-ABV sunscreen lotion before coming in direct contact with sunlight
  • Get vaccinated for HPV (or Human papillomavirus)
  • Take proper nutrition in your diet
  • Don’t compromise on oral hygiene. Immediately visit your dentists if you struggle with any of the above symptoms. 

In a Nutshell

Oral cancer, a harrowing disease, can be effectively treated with timely diagnosis and medical intervention. Watch out for any probable signs of mouth cancer. Also, keep in mind that the aftermath of surgical procedures can be daunting. Hence, it is imperative to follow preventive measures to keep at bay the risk of mouth cancer or oral cavity cancer. 

Additionally, opt for a health insurance plan so that you can manage the financial burden that comes with cancer treatment. You can opt for specific cancer-related health insurance plans like Care Cancer Mediclaim or a plan with a high sum insured like Care Advantage. Our cancer specific plan covers all stages of cancer along with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Care Health Insurance ensures the security and safety you need by offering hassle-free claim settlements on accumulated medical bills.

>> Also Read: How Dangerous is Cervical Cancer?

Disclaimers: The above information is for reference purposes only. Kindly consult your general physician for verified medical advice. The health insurance benefits are subject to policy terms and conditions. Refer to your policy documents for more information.

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