Jaw cancer refers to cancer that occur in the jaw. These are relatively rare lesions that occur in the soft tissues of the face, mouth, or jawbone. Also known as odontogenic tumors, they can vary in both severity and size. Jaw tumors and cysts are often benign but can be aggressive if malignant and invade the surrounding tissue and bone to displace the adjacent structures.
The treatment for jaw cancer differs, depending on the different lesion or growth in the jaw. Other factors that may play a role in management include the stage of growth and symptoms. In most cases, jaw cancer is managed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon via surgery, medical therapy, or a combination of both. Jaw cancers, tumors, and cysts usually originate from tissues and cells that are involved in the normal development of teeth. Some of the other tumors that can affect the jaw can also develop from tissues in the jaw that are not related to the teeth.
In most cases, the cause of jaw cancer is unknown and can be associated with various genetic syndromes. For example, individuals with Gorlin-Goltz syndrome, also known as nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome, lack a tumor suppressor gene due to a genetic mutation. This results in the development of multiple odontogenic keratocysts located within the jaw. Some other examples of jaw tumors and cysts include ameloblastoma, central giant cell granuloma, dentigerous cyst, odontogenic keratocyst, odontogenic myxoma, and odontoma. Individuals who have symptoms of jaw cancer, tumors, or cysts should seek medical attention to receive the proper treatment necessary.
Symptom #1: Pain and Abnormal Growth
Pain is an unpleasant feeling caused by damaging stimuli with the potential of causing actual or potential damage. Pain is often regarded as a symptom of a condition. It is the body’s natural protective mechanism to help the body withdraw from a potentially damaging situation and to protect it while it heals. It also teaches the individual to avoid similar experiences in the future.
In most cases, pain usually resolves once the noxious stimulant has been removed. It is one of the commonest reasons to seek medical attention in most developed countries. In jaw cancer, there may sometimes be pain and abnormal growth at the affected site.