Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer

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What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral Cancer

The uncontrolled growth of mutated cells in the oral region is called Oral Cancer. The term Oral Cancer includes cancers of the mouth and the pharynx. It encompasses the lips, the inside lining of the lips and cheeks, the teeth, the gums, most of the tongue, the bottom of the mouth, and the bony roof of the mouth, or hard palate.

Lymphomas: Oral Cancers that develop in lymph tissue are known as lymphomas. The tonsils and base of the tongue both contain lymphoid tissue.

Anatomy Of Mouth

What Are The General Symptoms Of Oral Cancer?

The symptoms of oral cancer may include:

What Are The General Causes Of Oral Cancer?

Oral Cancer may at times develop in patients without any prominent causative. But the following risk factors increase the probability of occurrence of the disease.

Can Oral Cancer Be Prevented?

Not all cases of Oral cavity and oropharyngeal Cancer can be prevented, but the risk of developing these Cancers can be greatly reduced by avoiding certain risk factors.

What Are The Stages Of Oral Cancer?

The most common system used for staging Oral Cancer is TNM staging.

A number (0-4) or the letter X is assigned to each factor. A higher number indicates increasing severity. The letter X means the information could not be assessed. Once the T, N and M scores have been assigned, an overall stage is assigned. The stages range from 0 to 4:

Survival Rates Of Oral Cancer?

83% for cancer that has not spread
62% for cancer that has spread to nearby lymph nodes
38% for cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body

The survival rate and diagnosis usually go hand in hand. If the symptoms and stage of throat cancer are discovered earlier, the individual will have a greater chance of survival. The 5-year relative survival rates for Oral Cancers are:

Can Oral Cancer Be Detected Early?

With the development of science and technology, today there are several tests that aid in the diagnosis of Oral Cancer. These tests include:

What Are The Treatments Available?

Today there are several treatments that can cure Oral Cancer and increase the life expectancy of the patients. Some of the common treatments are surgery, radiation therapy.


Tumor resection involves an operation to remove the entire tumor. Minimally invasive surgical techniques are used to treat the cancer. Neck dissection removes any cancer cells that may have spread to the lymph nodes. Once the surgery is done, a surgery to reconstruct the mouth might be conducted.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy stops cancer cells from dividing and slows the growth of the tumor. Radiotherapy also destroys cancer cells and can shrink or eliminate tumors. Radiation therapy involves 5-6 weeks of daily treatments.


Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to destroy cancer cells throughout the body. It may be an option if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. Chemotherapy is prescribed for different reasons:

  • Chemoradiation – A combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy as an alternative to surgery.
  • After surgery to decrease the risk of the cancer returning
  • Palliative treatment – To slow the growth of a tumor and control symptoms when the cancer cannot be cured.
Targeted drug therapy

Targeted drug therapy targets cancerous cells to interfere with cell growth on a molecular level. Cetuximab is one targeted therapy approved for treating head and neck cancers in certain situations. Cetuximab stops the action of a protein that’s found in many types of healthy cells, but is more prevalent in certain types of cancer cells. Targeted drugs can be used in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.   

How Frequently Should One Visit A Doctor For An Early Diagnosis?

Visiting a doctor for regular mouth check up is recommended. If you spot any of the symptoms or have high risks of the disease then periodic diagnosis aids in detecting the cancer at early stage.


How Can I As A Patient Know It Early?

Being aware of the causatives and symptoms helps in identifying the signs of the disease.