The general term for cancer affecting the mouth is oral cancer (also known as mouth cancer). In the form of white spots or bleeding sores, oral cancer might resemble a typical condition with your lips or mouth getting involved.
However, these alterations persist, which makes them distinct from a typical issue and possible malignancy. If not treated, oral cancer can spread from your mouth and throat to other parts of your head and neck. Five years after a diagnosis, 63% of persons with oral cavity cancer still live.
Both the mouth and the oropharynx may be impacted by oral cancer. When your mouth is open wide, you can see the centre of your throat, the roof of your mouth, and portions of your tongue. This area is known as the oropharynx. Oropharyngeal carcinoma refers to cancer of the oropharynx. The topic of this article is oral cancer of the mouth or oral cavity.
What causes oral cancer?
Mouth cancers develop when DNA alterations (mutations) occur in cells that line the lips or mouth. The instructions a cell needs to function are encoded in its DNA. When healthy cells stop dividing and expanding, the mutations signal the cells to keep growing and multiplying. Therefore, a tumour can develop when abnormal mouth cancer cells accumulate. They could eventually expand from the inside of the mouth to other regions of the head, neck, or entire body.
The flat, thin cells (squamous cells) that border your lips and the inside of your mouth are where mouth cancers typically start. Squamous cell carcinomas are the most common kind of mouth cancer.
It is unknown what causes the squamous cell mutations that result in mouth cancer. However, medical professionals have found several variables that might raise the risk of oral cancer.
Warning Signs of Oral Cancer?
- You have a sore on your lip or mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal within two weeks.
- You may have rough or crusty spots on your lips, gums or inside your mouth.
- Areas in your mouth that bleed for no apparent reason.
- A sensation of numbness, pain, or tenderness on your face, neck, or mouth that appears without apparent reason.
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue.
- Chronic bad breath.
Diagnosis and Test
At Signature Smiles, we have experts who can spot any possibility of oral cancer at the very first appointment.
We may follow up with preliminary tests or refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or head and neck surgeon. These specialists are also called ENT specialists.
Available test includes
Physical examination: Our experts will examine your whole mouth, including around-the-corner areas. During the examination, they look for possible pre-cancer and cancer signs on your head, face, and neck.
Biopsy: Examining cancer cells is performed by gently scraping the area in question with a small brush or spatula and then studying it microscopically to identify the cells’ nature.
Incisional biopsy: Cells will be removed from your body so doctors can test for cancer by examining small pieces of tissue.
Diagnostic tests can determine the cancer’s stage. However, an accurate description of the cancer stage depends on whether it has grown, penetrated the skin or penetrated the deeper layers.
While the PET SCANS discover if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body.