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What is Oral Cancer ?

Oral cancer is cancer of the mouth. In simple terms it is the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue. Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away. Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat), can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.

Cancer of the mouth lining makes up 90% of all oral cancer. Cancer of the mouth is most common in people over 40 years of age, but it can occur in younger people. Unfortunately, more people die from oral cancer because it is often diagnosed when it is already advanced. Early diagnosis and treatment is the most effective way to treat oral cancer. Cure rates of 90% to 100% have been reported when lip cancer is diagnosed and treated in the early stages.

Types of oral cancer

Mouth cancer can start anywhere in your mouth, such as:

Nine out of 10 mouth cancers are a specific type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. They grow in the flat, skin-like cells that line the inside of your mouth.

Other, rarer types of mouth cancer include:

Late signs and symptoms

Stage of pre-cancer: The pre-cancerous lesions and conditions of Oral Cancer are a ray of hope in prevention.

The Pre-cancerous lesions are:

The Pre-cancerous Conditions are:

The above mentioned conditions and lesions provide an opportunity for early detection and thus help prevent the malignant changes that cause oral cancer.

Diagnosed in the early phase, stopping the tobacco habit can reverse the condition. Thus, if appropriate measures for early detection and good public education are carried out, nipping the problem in the bud would be possible.

Diagnosis and Prevention

Early Diagnosis and Prevention are two terms that go hand in hand. For cancer, prevention and cure are synonymous. The only cure for cancer is early detection and prevention. Hence, the need of early detection cannot be underestimated. Since the treatment of Oral Cancer in the form of surgery and radiation causes many harmful side effects, especially facial disfigurement and also because surgical treatments can have a long lasting impact on physical as well as mental health of the patient, the need is to: