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What is oral cancer? Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Oral cancer is the highest in India. It ranks number one among men and number 3 among women. Even young adults are facing the problem of oral cancer because of increased consumption of tobacco and things similar to that. Oral cancer account for 40% of the cancer in men and include cancers of oral cavity i.e. tongue,gums, buccal mucosa, palate and cancers of pharynx i.e. the area behind the tonsils.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS OF ORAL CANCERS

– Tobacco use: People using both tobacco and alcohol are at greater risk of developing oral cancer.
– Poor oral hygiene.
– Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection.

Certain stages before development of cancer are:
– white patches in mouth or,
– red patches
– a condition called sub-mucous fibrosis when person cannot fully open the mouth.
– whole inner lining of cheek tissues turns white and hard.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

– Decrease in mouth opening or pain opening of mouth.
– Red, white, brown or black spots in mouth.
– Pain in mouth.
– Bleeding.
– Burning or numbness, tingling in tongue or lip.
– A sore or ulcer which does not heal.
– Sensitive or loose teeth.
– Difficulty in swallowing or talking.

High risk individuals should be examined by trained oncologist. Regular check up should be done every 2-3 months or during annual check ups. Self-examination is also important. You can do it by:
– Check if there is any change in color of gums, lips and cheeks, any kind of patches, any ulcer or sore, thickening in any part of oral cavity.
– Check for any lump or swelling or any other abnormality.
– Check if the person is having difficulty in opening the mouth.
Any abnormality, record it and report it to your doctor. The early detection of cancer is that it can be cured by only surgery or radiotherapy.
To prevent oral cancer, one should avoid tobacco and alcohol and maintain a good oral and dental hygiene.

Depending on the type of cancer and how far it has spread, it is treated with surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and sometimes combinations of these.
– Complete diagnostic check up to confirm or rule out cancer.
– Finding out the stage of the disease.
– Plan the treatment.
– Positive attitude.
– Self faith.

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