Oral cancer, commonly known as mouth cancer, is a type of cancer that develops in the tissues of the mouth and throat. Mostly this type of cancer develops in the squamous cells of the mouth, tongue, and lips.
In the United States, oral cancer affects about 50.000 people each year, occurring usually after the age of 40 years old. Men are twice more likely to develop oral cancer than women. Early detection is very important to surviving oral cancer, even though in most cases it is only diagnosed after cancer has spread to the lymph nodes of the neck.
Oral cancer risk factors include: cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, HPV infection, poor nutrition, genetic syndromes, being male, family history of oral cancer, oral cancer in the past, Chronic facial sun exposure & a weak immune system.
Oral cancer is diagnosed based on physical examination, brush biopsy, tissue biopsy, X-ray, CT-scan, MRI, and endoscopy.
Treatment of oral cancer will depend on its type, location, and stage at the time of diagnosis. Oral cancer treatment usually includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. But, what are the symptoms of oral cancer?
Symptom #1: Mouth Sore and Ulcer
Mouth sores are usually benign and caused by a virus or abscess. In this case, they tend to resolve within 10 days. Benign mouth sores are thin and soft, rarely bleeding. On the other hand, malignant mouth sores tend to bleed frequently. They are also thick and hard, persisting for a long period of time and often accompanied by other signs and symptoms as well.
Don’t ignore the presence of mouth sores and ulcers and pay attention to the time these sores and ulcers take to heal. They can be either small or large, occurring anywhere in your oral cavity, often on the lips, cheeks, throat, and gums.