Oral cancer, which can also be called mouth cancer, is a growth in any part of the mouth — the tongue surface, the cheeks, the palate (roof) of the mouth, the gums, or even the lips. Sometimes, these growths (tumors) can be in the pituitary gland, i.e., the gland where saliva is produced, or the pharynx, which is what joins your mouth and windpipe.
What are the Causes of Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer occurs as a result of a mutation in the DNA of the cells on the mouth or lips. The DNA of a cell is the part of the cell that gives the cell instruction on what to do. Normally, cells die naturally, but when there is a mutation, the cell would keep growing and dividing instead of dying. These cells accumulate and form a tumor on the mouth or lip. After some time, the tumor can spread to even the head, neck, or other parts of the body.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
Early detection of oral cancer can go a long way in the treatment of the disease. The following are the identifiable signs of oral cancer.
- Painful mouth ulcer (wound) that fails to heal after several weeks: normally, it should take a mouth ulcer several days or at most 2 weeks to heal. If you notice an ulcer in your mouth that has been there for more than that time and is yet to heal, it might be a sign of oral cancer.
- Lump in your mouth or on your neck that has refused to go away: If a lump forms in your mouth or neck suddenly and has not gone away after some time you can suspect oral cancer.
- Loose teeth: If your teeth feel loose, it could be that you have oral cancer.
- Teeth sockets that fail to heal after an extraction: After you extract your teeth, the socket from which the teeth were removed should heal after a few days. If otherwise occurs, you should get checked for oral cancer.
- Difficulty when swallowing: difficulty in swallowing is a symptom of many things, including oral cancer.
- Discoloration: Reddish or white patch on the tongue or lip.
- Loss of Sensation: Numbness of tongue or lip.
- Sudden lisp when speaking: If you notice that you are suddenly lisping when talking, you need to visit a dentist to get tested.
The above symptoms do not necessarily indicate oral cancer alone. This is why it is important to visit a dentist who will carry out tests and give you an accurate diagnosis.
Types of Mouth Cancer
Oral cancer is categorized according to the type of cell the cancer grows in. They include:
- Squamous cell carcinoma: This type is really common; it happens usually 9 times out of 10 cases. They are usually found in many parts of the body, such as in the mouth and skin.
- Adenocarcinoma: This type occurs in the salivary gland.
- Sarcoma: This occurs from abnormal growths in the bone, muscle, cartilage, and other tissue.
Ways of Treating Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can be treated using three major treatment plans.
- A surgery may be carried out to take out the cancerous cells with some other healthy tissue surrounding the cancerous cell.
- Radiotherapy is another option used. Rays of radiation are directed at the cell to kill them.
- Strong drugs can also be used to destroy the cancerous cells. This option is called chemotherapy.
Visit the Dental Experts of Simi Valley, CA
If you notice any of the symptoms in this article, you need to immediately see a dentist. As explained above, cancerous cells spread, and if it is left untreated, it can be fatal. Although deadly, oral cancer can be treated if it is detected on time. So waste no time seeing us at the Dental Group of Simi Valley. We make use of our modern technology to test and diagnose the underlying cause of these symptoms.
We are located at 1720 E. Los Angeles Ave. Suite 202, Simi Valley, CA 93065, and we provide service to residents in and around Simi Valley, California.
Some of our dental services include:
- preventative oral care
- oral diagnosis
- root canal
- treatment plans
- TMJ treatment
- porcelain crowns and bridges
- periodontal care
Give us a call today if you need any of the services mentioned above.