Oral cancer can take place anywhere in the mouth, inside the cheeks and the gums as well. Oral cancer is defined as the cancer of lips, mouth, and tongue. As there’s a continuous growth of these unwanted cells, they form a tumour in any particular part of the body. Sometime, these cells may travel to other parts of the body. "The oral cavity includes lips, cheek, tongue, the floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate. In tobacco consumption population, we come across white patches called leukoplakia which can convert to cancer. An ulcer, sore or proliferate lesion on tongue cheek or floor of the mouth which is not healing is a sign. Bleeding from any injury, presence of neck nodes can also be indicative. Besides, ear pain is one of the symptoms of tongue cancer." said, Dr Kapil Kumar Director & HOD, Director, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, Surgical Oncology.
Dr Prerna Taneja, Founder Clinic Eximus, Co-Founder of Health Nation, Start-up Mentor says that the early stage of oral cancer, often there are no signs or symptoms. Therefore, it suggested that heavy drinkers and smokers should have some regular check-ups with their dentist, as alcohol and tobacco are risk factors for mouth cancer so that the dentist may be able to identify any signs or symptoms at an early stage.
If oral/mouth cancer develops you may notice:
- swelling in the jaw
- difficulty moving the tongue or jaw
- patches on the lining of the tongue or mouth
- a hoarse voice
- bleeding, pain, or numbness in the mouth
- difficulty chewing or swallowing
- a lump or thickening of the lining of the mouth or the gums
- poorly fitting dentures
- mouth ulcers or sores that do not heal
- feeling that something is stuck in the throat or a sore throat
- loose teeth with no apparent reason
Also, please don’t assume that having any of these symptoms means that a person is having a mouth cancer, but to be sure about it go for a check-up with a doctor.
According to Dr Prerna Taneja, till today, there is no proven way to stop mouth cancer but one can cut down the risk of mouth cancer:
If you are in a habit to use tobacco, then stop immediately. And if you are not in a habit of tobacco, then don't use it. Using tobacco, whether chewed or smoked, discloses the cells in your mouth to some dangerous cancer-causing chemicals.
Avoid drinking alcohol regularly
The use of chronic excessive alcohol can annoy the cells in the mouth, making them defenceless. If you are in a habit of drinking alcohol, then try to moderate it. It wouldn’t be easy to suddenly leave the habit, therefore, you first start reducing the amount of consumption.
Protect the skin of your lips
It is important to protect the skin on your lips from the sun rays by staying in the shade when possible or by wearing lip guards. You may also apply a sunscreen lip product to protect them.
Visit your dentist regularly
Make it a habit to go for a routine dental check-up and ask your doctor to examine your the entire mouth that may specify mouth cancer or pre-cancerous changes.
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