Mouth/Oral Cancer

By: Owen Stegall 4/8/16

Oral Cancer Origins

Often oral cancer is discovered after the cancer metastasized somewhere else, usually the neck's lymph nodes. Prognosis at this stage is remarkably worse than when it is found in a local area in the mouth. Oral cancer is particularly threatening because it may not be noticed until much later due to the lack of pain or symptoms, and because it has a significant risk of metastasizing and creating primary or second tumors.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

Oral Cancer can go unnoticed early on because things such as tender tissue from an accidental bite to the inside of the cheek can mimic the signs of mouth cancer. Some possible symptoms include: a lump or mass inside the mouth or neck, pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing, and speaking, any warts, hoarseness, or any numbness in the face or neck region.

Causes and Prevention of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is caused by many factors, including HPV, which infects the epithelial cells of the mouth, tobacco and smoking, "with eight out of ten cancer patients being smokers", and the unknown causes of oral cancer, which science is still trying to progress to find a solution for. Oral cancer can easily be prevented by the lifestyle choices made by others. Not smoking, practicing safe sex, and not combining alcohol with either can prevent oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Treatment

Cancer is usually treated with multiple stages, including: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and rehabilitation. It usually depends on how far along the cancer has been progressed. Post treatment disfigurement isn't as likely if the cancer is caught early on. If not, surgery may be required and will disfigure the face. Assistance with speech, chewing food, and new facial and dental prosthetics may also be required. Some other possible complications are possible, with one being osteonecrosis, which is when bone exposed by damaged tissue is unable to repair itself.

Oral Cancer Diagnosis

Oral Cancer should be checked for annually by a doctor or dentist. However, knowing that signs and symptoms may appear inbetween each screening, self-diagnosis is a likely possibility. If possible symptoms should persist for more than two weeks, visit a professional for a diagnosis. Also, acknowleding the associated risk factors of oral cancer is a major part of diagnosis.

Oral Cancer Demographics

"Approximately 48,250 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. More than 9,575 people die from oral cancer each year in the U.S. Oral cancer represents about 4 percent of all cancers and 2.2 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States . . . A typical high-risk profile for oral cancer is male, over age 40, who uses tobacco and/or heavy alcohol. However, the male-female ratio has dropped from 6 to 1 in 1950 to about 2 to 1 at present. About 95 percent of all oral cancers occur in persons over 40 years of age. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 60.”

Application of Article

This article on oral cancer has shown me the dangers and risks of tobacco and smoking cigarettes. I have also been informed on how crucial early diagnosis of any cancer is if treatment shall work. I have figured out how cancer works and who it affects through this.