Mouth cancer is called oral cancer is a generic terminology which refers to a large group of tumors that originate from the lining of the mouth or from the bones.
Mouth cancer is a very common type of cancer. The most recent data indicates that the carcinoma of the oral cavity is in sixth place in the world, in order of frequency, among the various malignant tumors. In some countries, especially in Asia, cancer of the mouth is very common. A striking case is that of India, where tumors of the oral cavity (especially the tumor of the tongue) represent about half of the diagnosed malignant tumors.
The average age at diagnosis is 64 years and in the vast majority of cases (95%), the onset of this type of cancer occurs after the age of 40.
Signs and symptoms of cancer of the mouth:
The signs and symptoms related to the presence of a tumor in the mouth are numerous and, from the clinical point of view, the presentation of a tumor of the oral cavity can have a remarkable variability.
Indicatively, particular attention must be paid to the presence of:
- White or red plaques on the inner lining of the mouth.
- Plaques or wounds on the lips (especially if they look like warts).
- Ulcers or mouth sores that show no signs of healing.
- Growths on the tongue, neck or lips.
- Aching jaws or ears.
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
- Difficulty in phonation.
- Enlargement of the cervical lymph nodes.
- Persistent swelling in oral areas.
The Diagnosis: Mouth Cancer
Early diagnosis of a Mouth Cancer is essential for survival. Mortality rates linked to oral cavity tumors could be drastically reduced with careful prevention. For example, at least once a year, it is a good rule to undergo a dental surgeon.
In addition to the physical examination, the diagnostic tools that can be used for the detection of a tumor in the mouth are different. These include ultrasound, radiography, nuclear magnetic resonance, and bone scintigraphy.
If the specialist deems it appropriate, in the case of suspected precancerous lesions, the use of biopsy can be planned by taking one or more fragments of the area affected by the lesion.
Based on the available data, it is not possible to make recommendations for or against routine screening for oral cancer for individuals who have no symptoms. It is however recommended to have a dental examination a year, to check the health of the teeth and mucous membranes.
The advice for everyone to adopt a healthy lifestyle, no smoking, no consuming tobacco in any form and limiting alcohol is valid.
In particular, it is important not to underestimate possible lesions of the mouth only because they are small or painless: lumps or hardening of the mucosa, small ulcers, white or red or white-reddish plaques, especially if bleeding, growths.
Another alarm signal can be given by possible impediments to correct chewing. You can consult the dentist for more detailed information and guidance.
There are really many risk factors which, based on the many studies carried out were particularly significant in relation to the onset of mouth cancer. Among these we must remember:
The use of tobacco (both with regard to the habit of various forms of smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipe and with regard to its chewing is considered the main risk factor for the development of cancer in the mouth.
Numerous studies indicate that the correlation between the consumption of alcoholic beverages and spirits and the development of oral cavity carcinomas is particularly important.
It must also be considered that many strong alcohol users are often smokers, which seems to greatly increase the chances of developing cancer of the mouth.
Mouth tumors, as mentioned in the first part of the article, are very frequent in Asian countries, countries in which the habit of chewing paan is widespread. This habit has been related to the high incidence of mouth cancer in certain areas.
Do you have sores in your mouth? Even inside the cheeks or on the lips? Do the wounds in question hurt you and maybe bleed? It is not a normal thing and you should better go to the nearest dental clinic.