Oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer world over. It is caused by cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, alcohol + smoking (15 times increase in risk), betel quid, areca nut, sheesha/ hookah/ water pipe/ ,excessive exposure to sunlight, poor diet (deficiency of Vitamins A, C and E in diet) and history of organ transplantation or using immunosuppressive agents. The following table provides information on oral cancer.
A non healing ulcer without any cause that shows no signs of healing beyond 2 weeks. White or red patch in mouth. Swelling or lump in mouth, cheek or gums. Repeated bleeding. Teeth loosening. Difficulty in swallowing or feeling as if something is caught in throat.
Change in pattern on how teeth fit each other. Unexplained pain in mouth and ear. Change in voice. Unexplained weight loss.
Avoid the risk factors. Increase antioxidant vitamin intake (Vitamin, A, C & E). Consume tomato. Do not use alcohol based mouthwashes regularly. Periodic annual check up.
If oral cancer is not diagnosed and treated earlier, it can lead to death of the individual. Besides this, the late treatment of the advanced lesion can cause more tissue damage and hence greater part of the tissue has to be removed in surgery which can lead to loss of oral and facial tissues such as tongue and jaw. Furthermore, the cancer can spread to other areas in body causing more difficulty in removal and increase in recurrence of the cancer.
The radiotherapy and chemotherapy have also their associated side effects e.g. soreness of mouth, ulcerations, increase in tooth decay, delayed wound healing, decrease in amount of saliva, difficulty in opening mouth, difficulty in swallowing, increased infection rate and change in perception of taste.