Small white patches, recurring or non-healing blisters and loss of teeth are some of the symptoms that may indicate that something is not right in your mouth. Here we tell you about what oral cancer is and how to detect it.
As in other parts of the body, it is possible to develop cancer in the mouth. These can lodge in the lip, throat and in different places of what is called the oral cavity, which includes:
- The gums
- The lining of the cheeks
- The floor of the mouth
- The palate
- Two thirds of the language
The area behind the wisdom teeth
Due to the location of these types of cancer, they are said to belong to the group of tumors of the head and neck.
It is estimated that between 70% and 80% of oral cancer cases are related to smoking. And it can also be caused by drinking alcohol excessively. Other factors that can increase the risk of cancer in the mouth are, among others:
- Have chronic irritation (from rough teeth, dentures or restorations, for example).
- Being infected with the so-called human papilloma virus (HPV), which is spread through oral sex.
- Being exposed to natural light (sunning) or artificial light (as in tanning beds) for long periods of time.
- Have a bad oral and dental hygiene.
- Having received radiation to treat some other cancer of the head or neck.
Cancer of the lip and oral cavity, which occurs more in men than in women? Especially after 40 years of age-, may not give symptoms. In those cases, it is sometimes detected during a routine dental examination.
When the symptoms do become evident, they can manifest themselves in various ways. For example:
A wound (wound), tumor or ulcer that, in general, does not hurt at first (it may be deep or superficial, pale, dark or pigmented, on the tongue, lip or other area of the mouth).
- A sore on the lip or mouth that does not heal.
- A mass or thickening of the lips, gums or mouth.
- Bleeding, pain or numbness in the lip or mouth.
- Abnormal taste in the mouth.
- Problems in the tongue and to chew.
- Pain and difficulty swallowing or feeling something stuck
- Pain when moving the tongue or jaw.
- Inflammation of the jaw
- Change in the voice and difficulties in speaking.
- Loose teeth or falling dents.
These and other symptoms may indicate the presence of a cancer of the lip and oral cavity, but it is important not to be scared and to bear in mind that these same symptoms may also be caused by other problems that also require treatment. If you have any of them, do not delay in consulting with your dentist so that he can advise you and clear up doubts.
Treatments for oral cancer or cancer of the mouth depend on the type of cancer, the size and location you have, as well as the general state of health of who will receive the treatment.
These may include surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Some patients, even, receive a combination of treatments.
For example, if the tumor is small enough, it is usually recommended to remove it (remove it) with an operation. When the tumors are larger or if they have spread to the lymph nodes in the neck, surgery is usually performed in addition to radiation therapy and / or chemotherapy.
A person who has had oral cancer has a risk of developing a new cancer elsewhere in the body, usually in the neck or head, which is why these patients are often prescribed preventive treatments and periodic checks to detect the presence of a cancer. New cancer, if it occurs.
Keep in mind that symptoms can occur for several reasons that may also need treatment. If you have doubts, do not be alarmed but do not let time go by either, consult a specialist as soon as possible.