In the United States, an estimated 54,000 people (38,700 men and 15,300 women) will be diagnosed with oral and oropharyngeal cancer in 2022 as per research by cancer.net. Statistics also show that men are more likely to get oral cancer than women.
What exactly is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is the most common form of head and neck cancer that usually starts in the mouth. It is also known as mouth cancer. This cancer may affect the oropharynx area as well, which includes parts of the tongue, the upper surface of the mouth, and the middle part of the throat.
Patients suffering from oral cancer may experience persistent pain, a lump, or a white or red spot inside their mouth, numbness of the tongue, swelling in the jaw, or a lump inside the mouth.
Oral cancer is not only a painful disease but can be potentially life-threatening. People over 45 have an increased risk for oral cancer, although individuals of any age can develop this disease.
You can reduce the risk of oral cancer by taking the precautions mentioned below:
Tobacco, consumed in any form, affects your health negatively. It increases your chances of getting oral cancer as tobacco contains carcinogenic chemicals. E-cigarettes, shisha, vapes, and other products that expose the inside of your mouth to tobacco can cause cancer. As a result, avoiding tobacco ensures optimum protection and lowers the chance of developing oral cancer.
Consuming alcohol over a long period of time can reduce immunity and increase the chances of oral cancer. To prevent oral cancer, limit your alcohol consumption and avoid alcohol abuse.
Regular dental appointments are an excellent way to maintain good oral health. Early detection of oral cancer by a dentist can improve your recovery chances. There is no evidence that a single screening reduces the chances of getting oral cancer. Your dentist may determine that an oral exam or a particular test is necessary. Scheduling appointments every six months can be a good routine to follow.
Oral HPV (human papillomavirus) can be transmitted to the mouth through oral intercourse. You can reduce the risk of catching HPV by practicing safe sex. Vaccination against HPV at a young age can prevent new infections, but it does not treat existing illnesses.
The lips have particularly sensitive skin and are more likely to be damaged by prolonged exposure to UV rays. Consider protecting lips with a lip balm that has a high SPF.
Taking precautionary measures can reduce one’s chances of getting oral cancer.
The difference between typical mouth disorders such as cold sores, dry mouth, foul breath, yeast infection, and oral cancer is that the latter can occur in case these symptoms persist for more than two weeks. Cancer begins in the squamous cells in the oral cavity. These cells become cancerous when their DNA mutates and cells multiply over time. These abnormal cells can accumulate to form a tumor. The cancer cells can spread to other areas of the mouth, head, and neck. Oral cancer mostly affects the following parts of the body:
If the symptoms persist, you should consult your healthcare professional for a complete diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
Treatment for oral cancer can depend on the type, location, health, and stage of the disease. The following are some of the therapies and treatments that your doctor may recommend:
Surgery to remove cancer or tumor is usually done in the early stages. This can include primary tumor surgery, glossectomy, sentinel lymph node biopsy, neck dissection, and other procedures.
Radiation therapy uses equipment called a medical linear accelerator to guide an intense beam of energy into the body for destroying cancer cells. Treatment for advanced stages of oral cancer includes a combination of radiation therapy and other treatments like chemotherapy.
In this treatment, cancer specialists will use anti-cancer drugs that kill cancer cells. Cancer patients generally receive chemotherapy as outpatients, though some may require hospitalization as well.
This treatment is effective in both early and advanced-stage cancer. Targeted therapy drugs are used to identify and kill cancer cells or interfere with their growth.
This therapy engages your immune system to fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy is a part of biological therapy. Your drug and treatment schedule in this treatment will depend on factors such as your age, body weight, and so on.
The recovery time for each sort of treatment varies from person to person. Larger tumors may limit your ability to chew, speak, and swallow in the same way they did before the surgery. Early detection is critical since therapy in the early stages has a better likelihood of being successful. Following treatment, you must maintain contact with your cancer specialists and follow their recommendations.
If you or your loved one are diagnosed with oral cancer and looking for treatment options in Florida, medical oncologists at ACTC can help you. The cancer specialists at ACTC enable a personalized treatment plan. It is our top priority to make sure our patients receive the best possible treatment. We ensure that you receive support and care throughout your treatment and during your recovery period.
You can book an appointment by calling (352) 345-4565 or following this link to request an appointment online.