Cancer is defined as an uncontrolled division of cells that causes invading of the other neighboring tissues in any region of the body. Oral cancer is a cancerous condition that is seen in the oral cavity. It appears as a sore or growth in he mouth that does not go away. It includes cancers of the lips, tongue cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and the throat.
The symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Swellings, lumps, rough spots or eroded areas on the lips, gums and other areas inside the mouth.
- The development of velvety white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth.
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.
- Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling or pain and tenderness in the affected area of the face, mouth, or neck.
- A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat.
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue.
- A change in the way the teeth dentures fit together.
The most common causes of oral cancer are:-
- Tobacco and alcohol use. This causes most cases of oral cancer. Alcohol, particularly bear and hard liquor are associated with a risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco has nearly 20 carcinogens and its combustion can damage the oral tissues. Drinking and smoking together increases the risk of oral cancer by 15 times.
- Sun exposure. Exposure to sunlight may increase the risk of lip cancer which occurs most often on the lower lip. Using a sunscreen or colored lipstick on the lips may decrease the risk of lip cancer.
- Human papilloma virus, called HPV, which is of more than 100 varieties is also one of the risk factors for cause of oral cancer
- Studies have shown that a diet low in fruits and vegetables may put you more at risk for oral cancer, and other studies indicate that a diet high in fruits and vegetables may protect against many types of cancer.
As part of the daily dental routine, a dentist conducts an oral cancer screening exam. Specifically, the dentist checks for lumps and irregular tissue changes in the neck, head, face or the oral cavity. He/she performs an oral brush biopsy if he/she notices suspicious tissues in the mouth. These tests are necessary to detect oral cancer early before it gets a chance to progress and spread.