Did you know that oral cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in the world? It’s a disease that can be deadly if not caught early, so it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and how to prevent it. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms of oral cancer, as well as ways to reduce your risk of developing the disease.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is a term used to describe cancers that form in the mouth, or on the lips or tongue. The mouth has many parts: Gums, hard palate (roof of your mouth), soft palate (back of your roof of your mouth), cheek lining, upper and lower jawbones, bottom floor of your mouth (tongue and floor of your mouth), tonsils, and salivary glands. Most oral cancers form in the cells that line the lips, cheeks, gums, palate, or tongue.
Oral cancer can be treated if it is found early. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer and may include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
Symptoms usually develop on one side of your mouth first, but they can occur anywhere in the mouth or throat. These may include: A sore in your mouth that doesn’t heal; swelling or thickening of skin inside the mouth; a lump or mass in the mouth or throat; difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw; numbness of the lip, tongue, chin, or face.
Tobacco and alcohol usage are the two most common causes of mouth cancers. In Australia, these two types of oral cancer account for 59% and 31% of all oral malignancies, respectively. Quitting smoking and consuming less alcohol can help to reduce the risk of cancer.
Oral cancer can occur in a variety of locations in and around the mouth. Although there aren’t always visible symptoms, some warning indicators to look out for include:
1.in your mouth, lips, or throat, a pain, lump, or swelling
2.a red or white area on your tongue, gums, or mouth
3.difficulty or discomfort swallowing or chewing
4.the sensation of something being stuck in your throat
5.difficulty speaking or speech changes
6.jaw or tongue numbness or difficulty moving
7.teeth are loose and bleeding from the mouth
If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see your doctor.
Oral cancer can be a very serious disease if not caught early. If you experience any of these symptoms, please see your dentist or doctor as soon as possible. Early detection is key to treatment and survival rates. Oral cancer screening is a quick and painless procedure that could save your life. So don’t hesitate – ask your dentist about it today!
What can I do to reduce my risk of oral cancer?
⦁ Quitting smoking and avoiding tobacco products is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of oral cancer.
⦁ Limiting alcohol consumption is also important, as heavy drinkers are at a higher risk for developing oral cancer.
⦁ Maintaining good oral hygiene habits, including brushing and flossing daily, can help reduce your risk of oral cancer.
⦁ Avoiding exposure to the sun, which can lead to lip cancer, is also important. Using a lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher will protect your lips from harmful UV rays and should be applied liberally when you are out in the sun for extended periods of time.
⦁ It is also important to schedule regular dental exams, which will allow your dentist to identify potential signs of oral cancer in its earliest stages. Early detection offers the best chance for a cure.
What treatments are available if you are diagnosed with oral cancer?
There are many different treatments available for oral cancer. The type of treatment that is recommended will depend on the stage of the cancer and your individual circumstances. Some common treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Surgery is often used to remove tumors from the mouth. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.
Your doctor will work with you to determine which treatment is right for you. They may use tests like a biopsy or MRI scan in order to make this decision. Your doctor may also recommend that you see an oncologist who specializes in treating cancers of the mouth and throat area before making any final decisions about treatment.
Your doctor will discuss all of these options with you and help decide which one is best for your situation. You may also want to talk to a surgeon or oncologist before deciding whether surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy are right for you.
In addition to the treatments listed above, there are other ways that doctors treat oral cancer. Some of these include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery for head and neck cancers, or a combination of these treatments.
A person’s prognosis after treatment depends on many factors including their age at diagnosis, the stage and location of their cancer when they were first diagnosed with it (primary tumour), the size and number of tumours, how well the cancer responds to treatment, and whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other parts of their body.
How to cope with a diagnosis of oral cancer?
A diagnosis of oral cancer is a scary thing to hear, and it’s important that you know how to cope with this news. Oral cancers are those that develop in the mouth or throat, and they can affect the lips, tongue, gums, salivary glands or soft palate. They can also develop inside the nose.
If you have been told that you have oral cancer, take the time to get educated about your disease so that it can help you reach a positive outcome. Here are three things to know:
Your treatment options will depend on the stage of your cancer. The earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the easier it can be treated. In most cases, oral cancers are not discovered in early stages because they don’t cause symptoms until later stages. This means that they may have already spread to other parts of the body before you know anything is wrong.
Your treatment options will include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. In some cases, a combination of these treatments may be recommended. You may also need to have your teeth or jaw removed if the cancer has spread to these areas.
It’s important to remember that you are not alone in this fight. There are many people who have survived oral cancer and gone on to live long, healthy lives. You can find support groups online or in your community that can help you through the difficult time of treatment and recovery after receiving a diagnosis of oral cancer.
Your chances for survival depend on how early the cancer is diagnosed and treated. If caught early enough, the five-year survival rate for oral cancer is about 85 percent. If it has spread to other parts of the body, the five-year survival rate drops to about 50 percent.
Remember that you are not alone in this fight. There are many people who have survived oral cancer and gone on to live long, healthy lives. You can find support groups online or in your community that can help you through the difficult time of treatment and recovery after receiving a diagnosis of oral cancer.
You will likely need to have surgery to remove any remaining tumors from your mouth, neck or throat area immediately following treatment with radiation therapy. If this is not possible for some reason (such as if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body), then radiation therapy will continue until all tumors have been destroyed.
You may also need to take chemotherapy following radiation therapy in order to kill any remaining cancer cells. This is often called adjuvant chemotherapy and it helps improve the chances for a long-term remission. You will likely need to take these drugs for at least three months after treatment with radiation therapy ends.
It’s important to understand that oral cancer is an aggressive disease and it can be very difficult to treat once it has spread beyond the mouth or throat area. It is possible, however, for some patients who have been treated successfully using both surgery and radiation therapy, to go on and live long, healthy lives.
Cancer Council Australia. Mouth cancer [Online] 2017 [Accessed August 2018] Available from: