What Is Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the cancer of the mouth and throat (larynx). Cancer is defined as a mutation of cells that grow and divide and invade healthy tissue and continue to spread when “good” cells die. The collection of the mutated cells can form a tumor. Oral cancer originates in the mouth and throat, but can spread to other parts of the body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “mouth cancers most commonly begin in the flat, thin cells (squamous cells) that line your lips and the inside of your mouth. Most oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.”

Type Of Oral Cancer:

  • Gum Cancer
  • Lip Cancer
  • Tongue Cancer
  • Salivary Gland Cancer
  • Hard Palate (roof of mouth) Cancer
  • Floor of Mouth Cancer
  • Buccal Mucosa (inside of cheek) Cancer

What Causes Oral Cancer

Doctors and researchers are not entirely sure exactly what causes oral cancer, but they have found links that put some people more at risk.

  • HPV: Contact with HPV 16 (human papillomavirus), a sexually transmitted disease, has been linked to certain oral cancers, according to the National Institute of Health.
  • Age: Oral cancer risk increases with age; and is predominantly seen in people over the age of 40.
  • Tobacco: The majority of cancer cases are associated with tobacco use, specifically cigarette smoking.
  • Alcohol: Heavy alcohol use increases the risk of oral cancer and those risks are even more substantial when use of alcohol use and smoking cigarettes are combined.
  • Diet: A diet that lacks proper nutrition such as vegetables and fruits can increase the risk of oral cancer.
  • Sun Exposure: Lip cancer can been caused by exposure to the sun.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

  • Sore throat that doesn’t go away
  • Loose teeth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Lump in lining of mouth
  • White or reddish patch inside mouth
  • Jaw pain
  • Tongue pain
  • A feeling that something is caught in your throat (when nothing is there)

Why Oral Cancer Screenings Are Important

Oral cancer screenings are crucial because they can detect cancer at its earliest stages, and which is key to beating cancer. Early detection of cancer substantially increases the success rate of treatment. Be sure to tell your dentist of any lesions, bumps, or sores in your mouth so he or she can thoroughly check them during your exam.

To schedule an exam at our office, contact us online, or call us at (972) 964-3774.