Mouth cancer or oral cancer is defined as the uncontrollable growth in the mouth, inside the cheeks, and gums region that causes severe damage to adjoining tissue. Oral cancer can happen anywhere in the whole mouth, the base of the tongue, the lips, inside the cheeks, gums, the floor of the mouth, in the tonsils region, and also occur in the salivary glands. Oral cancer looks like as an overgrowth or sore inside the mouth that does not heals quickly.
Mouth cancer can happen in these regions:
- Tongue, where the lining is turned red and white
- Bleeding from the floor of the mouth that may cause pain
- The base of tongue which makes challenging to turn or move
- The thickness and bleeding gums which cause teeth loosening
- Jaw swelling is also seen in some cases where later stages cause difficulty in chewing and swallowing
Oral cancer usually starts with a single part of the mouth and can be spread other parts of the inner mouth regions after division. The cancer is identified as per their stages, like when it is diagnosed in earlier or 0 phase, then the doctor advised to stop smoking and chewing tobacco immediately. It is caused when genetic changes occur in the cellular level where cells grow in an uncontrolled manner and form a tumor.
The stages can be categorized as on the basis of cell division
- Localized cancer- in this category cancer affects only one area and not able to spread to the adjoining parts as bone cancer.
- Regional cancer- regional cancer can be easily spread to the nearby cells and further continues in later stages like mouth cancer quickly spreads to head and neck regions.
- Distant cancer- it can also spread to other tissues in case of lung and abdomen cancers.
Mouth cancer symptoms
In the earlier stages, there is no sure signs and mouth cancer symptoms as a dentist can only identify it after diagnosis. You can see red lines in the mouth which can only be confirmed by doctors. Continuous monitoring only identifies mouth cancer symptoms in early stages as when it ignored it appears as mouth Sores, swelling in gums, lumps under the tongue, sore throat, and other problems in swallowing and chewing. In later stages, it can be turned as-
- mouth or lip ulcers that do not heal after the usual time interval
- lump formation in the various parts of the mouth or sore throat
- thickening of the internal lining of the mouth that may cause pain
- severe pain or soreness in the mouth, and tongue which makes hard to chew and swallow
- Trouble in speaking due to narrowness of the vocal cord
- Loosening of teeth and bleeding or swallowed gums
- Unexplained bleeding and pain in the mouth region
- The problem in moving the jaw or tongue, and ear pain
These symptoms may be varied in some cases according to the stage of the mouth cancer is the result of a mutation in the cellular level. In case of a normal cell, division DNA assist a cell, when to divide and stop. But, in the case of the mutated cell, the communication has been disturbed, and the cell divides continuously and reduces the average cell concentration. These continually dividing cells accumulated in the mouth region and cause mouth cancer.
Treatment for mouth cancer
There are three main treatment options are useful in case of mouth cancer, named surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation techniques. But, it can be decided only after proper diagnosis. Treatment of mouth cancer depends on the location of cancer, cancer stage, pre-medical history, and desired location.
- Surgery to remove the tumor cell- your clinician eliminates the cancerous cells surgically along with surrounding cells because of some of the surrounding tissues are also gets mutated. In the case of early-stage, the minor treatment is done to eliminate a smaller portion. Major surgery is applied to remove the more significant part of your jaw or tongue.
Reconstruction surgery can be done to make your mouth a standard shape that can help you in eating and talking. The clinician will transplant some other tissue or bone to reconstruct your mouth along with dental implantation.
- Chemotherapy is the chemical procedure where powerful drugs are used to kill cancerous cells. Chemotherapy drugs can be given alone or can be in combination, which depends upon the cancer type. Some specific drugs are used to stop the action of protein and protect healthy cells.
- Radiotherapy – in radiation therapy, high energy beams like X-ray and protons are applied to kill tumor cells. Radiation is used from outside the body through an apparatus after surgery. In some early-stage cancers, radiation is applied alone in case of treatment for mouth cancer. In older stages, it may be used in combination with chemotherapy that makes it more effective. Radiotherapy is also very effective in reducing mouth cancer symptoms, reduce pain and lowers the chances of other complications.
Your treatment for mouth cancer can depend on the size of the tumor because there is limited space in the mouth region where hard to reach. Sometimes a small incision is required to achieve the exact place in case of treatment for mouth cancer. Some other cancer treatment therapies are also necessary in some cases like immunotherapy.
Advance Mouth cancer treatments
Immunotherapy is used when your immune system is weakened in the advanced mouth cancer, and other techniques are not responding. In this procedure, the body uses its immune system to fight with the cancerous cell. Immunotherapy makes healthy cells more visible by making changes on the genetic level. Immunotherapy may be given via oral, intravenous, and by rubbing on your skin in case of early cancer.
Brachytherapy- in this advance treatment method, the internal radiation is used via placing a radiation tool inside your body. It allows the doctor to put radiation in the more specific way, which proves to be very useful in treatment for mouth cancer. It is done in case of mouth cancer, brain cancer, eye cancer, and head and neck cancers.