Table of Contents
Symptoms of Mouth Cancer
Cancer is a disease in which cells of the body start dividing unexpectedly and ravage the nearby tissues. According to the World Health Organization, cancer is considered a leading contender in the list of global killers.
The number goes as high as 10 million deaths in 2020-21. Cancer cells, if malignant, can spread to different parts of the body via blood and lymph systems. In this article here, we would be discussing the symptoms of oral cancer, which is a matter to be aware of, although not that fatal like the other kinds. The total oral cancer cases are nearly 54,010, with a death toll of 10,850 (as of 2021), according to the Cancer Statistics Centre of the American Cancer Society.
What Are the Signs of Mouth Cancer?
Let us plunge into the signs of oral cancer that may appear. The symptoms at the beginning stage of oral cancer may include common issues like toothaches, coughing, and colds. If these issues last for a significant period, you must immediately consult a doctor and get the issue diagnosed as soon as possible.
Some of the common symptoms of jaw cancer and mouth cancer are as follows:
- Loosening of the teeth from gums
- Facing difficulty while chewing or swallowing food
- Consistent pain in teeth or jaw
- Lump formation in cheek
- Difficulty moving jaw and tongue
- Sore throat
- Constant feeling of something caught in the throat
- Evolving of white or red patches on the tongue, gums, tonsils, or mouth lining
- Sores in the mouth that do not heal easily
- Change in voice
- Significant weight loss
- Pain in the ear
- Consistent bad breath
- Numbness of the tongue and other parts of the mouth
- Swelling of the jaw
Oral Cancer – A Closer look
Now that we’ve addressed the signs and symptoms of oral cancer, let us take a closer look at the disease, its nature, and its fatality.
Oral cancer initially appears as a growth or sore-like lump in the mouth, which does not heal even after following medications. Oral cancer affects the following parts of the mouth- lips, cheek, floor of the mouth, tongue, gums, pharynx, sinuses, etc. And, this can be highly life-threatening if not diagnosed at an early stage of oral cancer and treated accordingly.
The average age where most people are diagnosed with oral cancer is above 60. But, oral cancer is highly likely to affect younger people too. According to the American Cancer Society survey, approximately 20% out of the total oral cancer cases can be seen affecting people younger than 55 years of age.
Who Is More Prone to Oral Cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, men are twice as vulnerable to get affected by oral cancer as women. The lifetime risk of developing oral cancer is about 1.7% (1 out of every 60) in men and about 0.71% (1 out of every 140) women.
Causes of Cancer
These are the various causes that are responsible for the formation of cancer cells in the body:
- Biological causes: Certain viral and bacterial infections are considered biological carcinogens, which are responsible for causing cancer.
- Chemical causes: Harmful components of tobacco smoke, water contaminants like arsenic, food contaminants like aflatoxin, etc., are chemical carcinogens responsible for causing cancer in human beings.
- Physical causes: Radiations like ultraviolet or ionizing radiations affect the genetic combinations of a person, resulting in the formation of cancer cells in them. These physical carcinogens are either caused by hazardous occupations, artificial tanning systems, or sun rays.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
There are certain factors that instigate the development of oral cancer in human beings. These include:
The most common factor that leads to the development of not just oral but also lung cancer is smoking. Cigarette, pipe, and cigar smokers are more likely and vulnerable to get oral cancer than non-smokers.
Certain people like to consume tobacco in chewable forms. Users of this kind of oral tobacco products, snuff, etc., are more likely to get affected with oral cancer. The part where cancer forms in these cases are generally the cheek, gums, and lip-lining.
Alcohol consumption increases the chances of the development of oral and throat cancers. Usually, heavy drinkers are more likely to get affected by oral cancer than occasional drinkers.
Obese patients have a high risk of getting affected by oral cancer than others. This usually happens because of poor nutrition, which can be curbed off by including more green vegetables in the diet.
A person is more vulnerable to oral cancer if they have a genetic history of a similar kind of disease. Since cancers are merely cells that divide and spread abnormally, a person with a cancer history in their family may be more likely to develop carcinogenic cells.
Sunlight is the primary source of ultraviolet rays. Therefore, people involved in outdoor jobs are more likely to develop oral cancer than other people. And not just that, exposure to excessive sunlight from a young age might even be the reason to develop oral cancer.
Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV)
This virus causes infections that instigate the growth of a wart (papilloma). HPV is a group of viruses containing more than 150 types of viruses. Therefore, infections with certain kinds of HPV cause the risk of contracting cancer.
Don’t Face It Alone
Therefore, these are the symptoms of oral cancer and some factors which lead to its development in a nut-shell. Only by maintaining a healthy and controlled lifestyle shall diseases like these be prevented. If you are experiencing mouth cancer symptoms, be sure to consult with a doctor ASAP. By catching the problem after experiencing early symptoms of oral cancer, the situation is more manageable.
However, if you are in the later stages of mouth cancer, we at All American Hospice are here to help. We are dedicated to providing you with the highest-quality services; our expert caregivers are sympathetic and can make you more comfortable. Reach out to learn more.