DEFINITION: Oral cancer is cancer in the mouth. Oral cancer most commonly involves the tissue of the lips or the tongue. It may also occur...
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Monday, May 16, 2011
Oral cancer is cancer in the mouth. Oral cancer most commonly involves the tissue of the lips or the tongue. It may also occur on the:
*Floor of the mouth
*Roof of the mouth (palate)Some oral cancers begin as a white plaque (leukoplakia) or as a mouth ulcer. Oral cancer accounts for about 5% of all cancerous growths. Men get oral cancer twice as often as women do, particularly men older than 40.
*smoking and using other tobaccos
*using too much alchohol
*Chronic irritation (such as from rough teeth, dentures, or fillings)
*Human papilloma virus infection
*Poor dental and oral hygiene
Sore, lump, or ulcer:
*May be a deep, hard-edged crack in the tissue
*Most often pale colored, but may be dark or discolored
*On the tongue, lip, or other area of the mouth
*Usually painless at first (may develop a burning sensation or pain when the tumor is advanced)
Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:
*Abnormal taste in the mouth
*Pain with swallowing
Surgery to remove the tumor is usually recommended if the tumor is small enough. Surgery may be used together with radiation therapy and chemotherapy for larger tumors. These treatments are more common if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the neck.
Rehabilitation may include speech therapy or other therapy to improve movement, chewing, swallowing, and speech.
Approximately half of people with oral cancer will live more than 5 years after they are diagnosed and treated. If the cancer is found early, before it has spread to other tissues, the cure rate is nearly 90%. However, more than half of oral cancers have already spread when the cancer is detected. Most have spread to the throat or neck.
Approximately 25% of people with oral cancer die because of delayed diagnosis and treatment.
*Complications of radiation therapy, including dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
*Disfigurement of the face, head, and neck after surgery
*Other spread (metastatis) of the cancer
WHEN TO CONTACT MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL:
Oral cancer may be discovered when the dentist performs a routine cleaning and examination.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have a sore in your mouth or lip or a lump in the neck that does not go away within 1 month. Early diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer greatly increases the chances of survival.
*Avoid smoking or other tobacco use
*Have dental problems corrected
*Limit or avoid alcohol use
*Practice good oral hygiene