Learn about oral cancer’s causes, symptoms, stages, diagnosis, and treatment.

According to Dr. Sandeep Nayak, among excellent oncologists in Bangalore, oral cancer, also called mouth cancer, can develop in any part of the mouth, including the tongue, lips, inside lining of the cheeks, roof, or floor of the mouth, and gums.

When the tumor reaches the lymph nodes of the throat, it is diagnosed. It is critical to detect oral cancer at an initial stage to evade complications.

A regular dental check-up can aid in the early detection of oral cancer.

Here are some basic facts about oral cancer symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Causes of Oral Cancer

Tobacco use, which includes smoking cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco, is one of the leading causes of oral cancer.

Oral cancer is increased by the use of both alcohol and tobacco regularly.

According to Dr. Sandeep Nayak, men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women.

Oral cancer can also be caused by a weakened immune system and a lack of nutrients in the diet.

Chronic facial sun exposure, previous oral cancer, HPV infection, and a family history of cancer increase your chances of developing oral cancer.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

  • A lip or a mouth sore
  • A growing mass anywhere in your mouth
  • A persistent earache
  • A lump in the neck
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Numbness in the face, neck, or mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Red or white patches on lips and mouth
  • Pain in jaws or tongue

Diagnosis of Oral Cancer

First, the doctor will examine the parts of the mouth such as the throat, tongue, floor or roof of the mouth, cheeks, and lymph nodes.

A brush or tissue biopsy may be performed if the doctor discovers a tumor, mass, or suspicious symptoms.

A brush biopsy is a painless procedure in which cells from the tumor are collected and examined under a microscope.

Tissue biopsy entails scraping tissues from the body and examining them under a microscope for cancerous cells.

X-rays can be used to determine whether cancer has spread to the throat, neck, or lungs.

A CT scan of the neck, mouth, throat, tongue, lungs or other body parts looks for tumors.

A PET scan to check for lymph nodes in the neck and throat, as well as an MRI scan to check for cancer spread and stage.

An endoscopic examination of the nasal passage, sinuses, inner pipe, windpipe, and trachea may reveal cancerous cells.

Stages of Oral Cancer

The tumor may be around 2 centimeters in diameter at this stage of cancer and has not yet spread to the lymph nodes.

In stage 2 oral cancer, the tumor maybe 2 to 4 centimeters in diameter and may not spread further.

The tumor may be larger than 4 centimeters in size at this stage, and it may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes.

The tumor can be any size at this stage, but the cancer cells may have spread to nearby organs, tissues, and lymph nodes.

According to Dr. Sandeep Nayak, 83 percent of oral cancer cases do not spread, but 64 percent of oral cancer cases apply to the lymph nodes.

 Cancer cells spread to other parts of the body in 38 percent of cases.

Treatment for Oral Cancer

Surgical removal of the tumor, cancerous lymph nodes, or cancer cells in the throat and neck is one of the options for removing the tumor, cancerous lymph nodes, or cancer cells.

Radiation therapy involves focusing a beam of X-rays on cancer cells and administering them once or twice a day for 2 to 8 weeks.

Chemotherapy is another way to treat cancerous cells with drugs taken orally or administered through intravenous lines. 

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy effectively kill cancer cells, and advanced stages of cancer may require both.

Targeted therapy can kill cancerous cells by interfering with them and preventing them from growing any further.