Oral cancer is a condition where the cancerous cells get developed in the areas of the oral cavity. It is under the category of head and neck cancers. It gets developed by the squamous cells in the region of mouth and throat. They are mostly found only after the cancerous cells reaching the lymph nodes on the neck. Diagnosing it way before is better as it could turn into life-threatening.
There are several types of oral cancers involved based on the region it gets affected. The major areas affected by the cancerous cells are as follows:
- The inner area of the cheeks
- The hard and soft palate
- The floor of the mouth
The signs and symptoms of oral cancer may include:
- A sore in the lip or mouth that doesn’t heal
- A reddish-white patch on the side of the mouth
- Loosening of teeth
- Pain in the mouth or oral cavity
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Change in the voice
- Lump on the neck
- Ear pain
- a dramatic loss of weight
- Pain or stiffness in the jaw
It is better to consult a dentist at the earliest if the above-mentioned symptoms last for a long or coming to you repeatedly.
The oral cancer forms when the cells in the mouth develop certain mutations in the DNA. The mutational change gives a set of instructions to make the unhealthy cells developed. The accumulation of dead cells causes a tumor. After sometimes the cells spread across various parts of the head and neck.
Oral cancer commonly begins with squamous cells. They are very thin and flatlining on the lips and inner parts of the mouth.
These thin layers, after sometimes get multiplied and developed into four stages. They are as below:
Stage 1: The tumor around 2 centimeters and the cancerous cells hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes.
Stage 2: Here the tumor ranges between 2 centimeters to 4 centimeters and it doesn’t get into the lymph nodes.
Stage 3: The lymph node may partially get affected without the spread of the cells to any other parts of the body. The tumor here is more than 4 centimeters.
Stage 4: The tumors are bigger here and the cells reach out to the different parts causing the effect.
The treatment of oral cancer may vary according to the type, stage of cancer and the area is affected. Surgery is the best option if it is diagnosed earlier. Based on its severity certain therapies like chemotherapy, targeted therapy and radiation therapy take place.