How to Avoid Oral Cancer!!! - Medx Health Assistance

How to Avoid Oral Cancer!!!

Oral cancer is an unstoppable health hazard growing in India with 40% of all cancers being mouth cancers. Therefore, institutes specializing in oncology are taking a multidisciplinary move for oral cancer treatments, to be safe and have efficient recoveries. An anomalous growth of malignant cells in any area of the mouth, be it the tongue surface, inner cheeks surface, palate, gums or lips, it’s known as Oral Cancer. Though the origin of the disease remains a question mark. Oral or Mouth cancer begins when cells in the lips or in the mouth undergo certain changes i.e. mutation in the DNA.

Risk Factors

  • Any kind of tobacco, cigar, pipes or cigarettes.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV), sexually transmitted virus.
  • Over exposure of sun to lips. 
  • Absences of oral hygiene 
  • Malnutrition, certain chronic infections or misfit dentures.

This cancer is not age specific, since nowadays, chewing tobacco and smoking are quite common in young adults and adolescents. However, this disease is quite pronounced among males, though females are also vulnerable to it. Oral cancer begins with a sore in the mouth that does not go away.  

Symptoms and Signs of mouth cancer

  • Sore in lip or mouth that doesn’t heal
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain or difficulty in swallowing
  • Mouth or ear pain
  • Presence of a lump inside the mouth
  • Patch inside the mouth (white or reddish in colour)

Treatments

Treatments of mouth cancer are chosen according to the cancer’s location and stage, as well as one’s overall health and personal preferences. The overall treatment may include one or a combination of two different types of treatments. 

  • Surgery– The tumour is removed by a surgery, the surgeon might cut away the tumour and a margin of healthy tissue that covers it, to make sure that all the cancer cells have been removed successfully. Minor surgery is performed to remove smaller cancers whereas larger tumours might need more-extensive procedures. For instance, removing a large tumour might require removing a section of one’s jawline or a portion of one’s tongue.
  • In case, the cancer has spread to the neck or to the lymph nodes, the doctors might recommend the patient to opt for a procedure to extract lymph nodes and related tissues from the neck, this is known as neck dissection. In neck dissection every cancer cell is eliminated from the neck or lymph nodes. It’s also quite helpful in determining whether the patient requires additional treatment after the surgery or not.  
  • Reconstructing the mouth with a surgery, after the removal operation, the doctors may recommend a reconstructive surgery to rebuild the mouth so that the patient is able to talk and eat again. The surgery might transplant grafts of skin, bone or muscle from the other parts of the body to rebuild the mouth. Furthermore, natural teeth may be replaced by dental implants. 

Bleeding and infections are the common risks of surgery, it might even affect the patient’s ability to talk, eat, and swallow as well as the appearance of the patient. The patient may require a tube to help eat, drink or take medicines. The tube may be inserted via the nose and into the stomach for a short-term use and for long-term, a tube might be inserted via skin and into the stomach. 

  • Radiation Therapy– High-energy beams such as X-rays and protons, are used to eliminate the cancer. Usually, radiation therapy is used after the surgery. However, it may also be used alone, only if the doctors detect the cancer at an early-stage. In some cases, radiation therapy can be combined with chemotherapy. This combination raises the effectiveness of radiation therapy but it also increases the side effects that the patient might experience. The aftereffects of radiation therapy may include dry mouth, damage to the jawbone and tooth decay.
  • Chemotherapy– A treatment in which different chemicals are used to eradicate cancer cells from the body. These drugs can be given alone or in combination with other drugs or treatments. Chemotherapy might increase the efficacy of radiation therapy. The side effects of chemotherapy might include nausea, vomiting or hair loss. 
  • Immunotherapy– The immune system is boosted to fight against cancer. The body’s disease-fighting immune system might not fight with cancer because cancer cells release proteins that make immune system cells blind. Immunotherapy works by disturbing that process and makes the immune system strong enough to fight against the cancer. Immunotherapy is usually reserved for the patients with advanced mouth cancers. 
  • Targeted Drug Therapy– This treatment works by altering specific aspects of cancer cells that fuel their growth. One of the drugs used in this therapy to treat mouth cancer is Cetuximab (Erbitux). This drug terminates the action of a protein which is found in many types of healthy cells, but is more prevalent in specific kinds of cancer cells. 

Few side effects of this treatment can be skin rash, itching, headache, diarrhea and infections.

 

 

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