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Oral cancer – causes and symptoms of this cancer.

Oral cancer has emerged as a major health problem. The oral cavity includes many parts: the lips; the lining inside the lips and cheeks, called the buccal mucosa; the teeth; the bottom (floor) of the mouth under the tongue; the front two-thirds of the tongue; the bony top of the mouth (hard palate); the gums; and the small area behind the wisdom teeth.
The cancer arises from the cells which line the oral cavity. Oral cancer is part of a group of cancers called head and neck cancers. Oral cancer can develop in any part of the oral cavity or oropharynx.

Causes and Risk Factors of Oral Cancer

– Tobacco is one of the main cause of oral cancer. Tobacco smoke and tobacco juice contain more than 60 proven carcinogens which irritate the lining of the oral cavity and cause cancer.
– Habitual use of paan which contains beetel nut and lime can cause cancer even if tobacco is not present.
– Alcohol is another important cause that enhances the carcinogenic effect of tobacco when used together.
– Other factors include infection with human papillomavirus, poor oral hygiene, excessive exposure to sunlight, vitamin deficiencies.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

– Bleeding in the mouth.
– Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
– Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue.
– A sore on the lip or in the mouth that does not heal.
– A lump on the lip or in the mouth or throat.
– A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth.
– Loose teeth.
– Change in voice.
– Pain in ear.
– Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice.
– In some cases, weight loss.
– Numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck.
– Swallowing can become a problem.

The red patches have higher possibility of becoming cancer. If these lesions are identified early and removed, the chances of developing cancer are very low. In certain patients, large areas of oral cavity may have premalignant lesions making surgical removal difficult.

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