Oral Cancer

By Max Leonard and Colby Primmer

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What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a cancer that begins in the tissues that make up the tongue, lips, or cheek lining. In almost all cases it is caused by the use of abusive substances that irritate the mucous membranes (mucous membranes are the thin layers of tissue found inside parts of the body) in the mouth. Some of these substances include chewing tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or alcohol. Over time, this constant irritation from the substances takes it toll, and some of the tissue takes on an abnormal appearance and eventually turns cancerous.

The Causes of Oral Cancer?

-Radiation

-Wood dust inhalation

-Adenocarcinoma

-People with HIV or Herpes are at higher risk of oral cancer.

-Chewing tobacco use

-Alcohol use

-Cigarettes

-Broken mouthguards

-Grills and dentures that do not fit correctly

-Overly processed food

Treatments? Cures?

-Surgical removal is the most common treatment

-Chemotherapy

-Radiation Therapy

-Gamma knife surgery for extreme cases

-Techniques such as yoga and physical therapy could be used for stressed patients to deal with the disease.


Symptoms of This Cancer

Some of the symptoms of this cancer include:

-A lump or thickening in the cheek

-Sore throat or the feeling of something is caught in your throat.

How can YOU prevent this cancer? Why is it dangerous? (Video)

In this video an interviewer from Fox News talks to Dr. Paul Coleman from the Coleman Center for Cosmetic Dentistry in San Diego, California, about the things we can do to make sure the spread of Oral Cancer doesn't begin. He also talks about the side effects of the cancer and why they can be dangerous to your health.
San Diego CA- FOX6 - Oral Cancer Information - Dr. Paul Coleman

Oral Cancer on Cellular and Molecular Levels

-Genetic mutations built up over time are a cellular cause of oral cancer, sparked by the physical causes. (tobacco, alcohol, wood dust, etc.)



Some important genetic mutations are:


  • Mitochondrial mutations

  • suppressor genes (Genes that slow down cell division)

  • genomic instability (frequent mutations within the genome of cellular lineage)

  • oncogenes (Gene that has the ability to cause cancer)

  • epigenetic alterations (Disrupting of the epigenetic process can lead to mutation in gene producing processes.)

Symptoms of This Cancer

Some of the important symptoms to watch out for include:


  • A lump in the neck or surrounding area
  • Numbness of the tongue or anywhere else within the mouth
  • Teeth becoming loose
  • Changes in voice
  • Lump or thickening in the cheek
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • A red or white patch on the gums, tonsil, tongue, or lining of the mouth

How Prevalent is this Cancer?

Oral cancer kills roughly 1 person per hour in the U.S and approximately 45,750 Americans will be diagnosed with and oral or a pharyngeal cancer this year. Oral cancer on average this year should cause a devastating 8,650 deaths. One of the very sad parts is that out of the 45,750 newly diagnosed individuals only slightly more than half will live for the next 5 years. This cancer is not only moral and physically expensive but also economically expensive. As of 2010 approximately $3.2 billion is spent in the United States each year on treatment of head and neck cancers.

How is this Cancer Diagnosed?

This cancer is diagnosed in multiple different ways, such as:

  • CT or CAT scan
  • MRI Scan
  • PET Scan
  • Symptoms that were previously mentioned in this flyer