What Is Mouth Cancer? Causes And Symptoms - Healthio Turkey

What Is Mouth Cancer? Causes And Symptoms

February 16, 20240

Mouth cancer can be defined as a condition in which cells in the mouth area mutate and develop malignant tumors. Since early diagnosis is very important in treatment, one should be careful about the symptoms and consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Mouth cancer is also called oral cancer. It can occur in areas such as the lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, floor of the mouth, or roof of the mouth. Even if there is a tendency towards different treatments, the standards for staging evaluation are clear.

What Is Mouth Cancer?

Mouth cancer is a type of cancer that occurs when abnormal cell growth occurs in the gums, mouth, cheeks or lips. There is an uncontrolled growth and spread of cells. Mouth cancer is actually a type of head and neck cancer. Its occurrence depends on risk factors.

There are various types of cells that can become cancerous in almost any area of the mouth. Various mutations cause cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. Thus, mouth cancer symptoms become noticeable. Because changes in oral function may happen.

You should pay attention to all the warnings your body gives you. If mouth cancer advances, its treatment can be very difficult. If you experience any symptoms, you should immediately go to the doctor. Routine dentist checks are very important for early diagnosis.

Understanding why mouth cancer occurs helps you recognize common triggers. You can protect your own health by making changes in your lifestyle. For example, limiting tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption means you can take preventative action.

mouth cancer risk factors

How Does Mouth Cancer Develop? Causes And Risk Factors

The most important point for mouth cancer is early diagnosis. Because treatment is possible in case of early diagnosis. Mouth cancer is more common in people over the age of 40. Even though it is very rare, it can occur in young people and and is more common in men.

Mouth cancer occurs in approximately 1.5% of adults. However, it is a type of cancer that is more common in people with white skin. The incidence of mouth cancer due to HPV infection is one of the situations that increases regularly every year.

Causes Of Mouth Cancer

Causes of mouth cancer are related to risk factors and it occurs in the thin cells inside the mouth. Even though it is known how it occurs, the exact reasons that cause the mutation of cells are not clear. Therefore, the problem should not be confused with mouth ulcers.

On the other hand, the formation of cancer means the change of the DNA structure of the cells. When DNA changes, cells multiply rapidly and become cancerous. Cancerous cells spread by attacking other areas in the mouth and mouth cancer occurs.

Risk Factors Of Mouth Cancer

Understanding the risk factors that cause the development of mouth cancer is important in order to avoid potential problems in advance. Men are twice as likely to experience mouth cancer as women, and most people get oral cancer after age 55.

  • Poor Nutrition: If you do not have a nutritional habit supported by vegetables and fruits, you will have problems supporting your oral health and you may get oral cancer.
  • Sun Exposure: Especially at young ages, exposure to too much sunlight is a triggering factor. Too much radiation from the sun can lead to lip or mouth cancer.
  • HPV Infection: HPV strains are considered risk factors for oral cancer. This risk factor affects men under the age of 50 more. More sexual intercourse means more risk.
  • Excessive Alcohol: Your risk of developing oral cancer increases if you consume too much alcohol. Alcohol consumption along with smoking is a more serious risk.
  • Excessive Smoking: If you have habits such as smoking, the risk of developing mouth cancer increases. The risk is six times higher than in nonsmokers.
  • Genetic Factors: Genetic factors are among the risk factors of mouth cancer. If you have a family history of cancer, you may experience more problems.
  • Smokeless Tobacco: Smoking alone is one of the risk factors for mouth cancer. However, smokeless tobacco such as dip and snuff increases the risk slightly.

If you want to take preventive steps against cancer, you should understand the risk factors of mouth cancer well. Because preventive steps require changes in your lifestyle. At the same time, it is important to visit your dentist regularly and do not miss check-ups.

Preventing Mouth Cancer

You can take some preventive steps to prevent conditions that cause oral cavity cancer or mouth cancer. The most important thing is to stay away from risk factors as much as possible. You can see your condition clearly by performing oral screenings regularly.

  • Lifestyle Changes: If you do not want to experience problems such as mouth cancer, change your lifestyle and reduce alcohol and cigarette consumption.
  • Oral Hygiene: There is a very strong connection between oral hygiene and oral health. Brush your teeth regularly every day and have your teeth checked regularly.
  • Healthy Diet: If you do not eat healthy, you may encounter all kinds of diseases, not just oral cavity cancer. You must get nutrients from fruits and vegetables.
  • HPV Vaccination: If your sexual life is very active, you should definitely get the HPV vaccine. Thanks to the vaccine, you get protection against high-risk HPV strains.

If you care about your oral and dental health, you should definitely go for regular check-ups. Oral cavity cancer or mouth cancer can seriously affect your life. Especially situations such as HPV infection can cause you to encounter much more serious health problems.

Symptoms of Mouth Cancer

Symptoms of mouth cancer should always be examined closely. Pay attention to unexplained pain and numbness in the mouth. If you have mouth ulcers that have been going on for a while and do not go away, see a doctor as soon as possible to get checked.

  • Mouth Color Change: If there is a color change inside your mouth, you can tell something is wrong. Pay attention to patches that may occur inside the mouth.
  • Lip Color Change: Changes in lip color may cause problems such as scaling. At the same time, this situation may be a sign of a bigger problem.
  • Persistent Mouth Ulcers: These are causes of mouth cancer. However, if mouth ulcers are permanent, they are seen as one of the symptoms of mouth cancer.
  • Difficulty Swallowing: Having problems swallowing and chewing is one of the most important symptoms of mouth cancer. You should be wary of such difficulties.
  • Unexplained Pain: If you have a pain in your mouth that does not go away, you should be careful. Pain of unknown origin is one of the most serious signs of cancer.
  • Unexplained Numbness: The mouth is extremely sensitive. An occasional tingling sensation is normal, but if it occurs constantly, there may be another problem.

You should always be aware of the symptoms. If you notice them but do not take any steps, you will not be able to detect cancer in advance. You should remember that early diagnosis is valuable for any type of cancer. Care about your health and take action in time.

Diagnosis And Dental Examinations For Mouth Cancer

Oral examination is necessary to detect cancer. Your doctor tries to detect abnormal conditions by looking at your mouth or lips. At this stage, it is examined whether white patches are formed. Also, a tissue sample can be taken and a biopsy can be performed.

In certain cases, your doctor may want to examine your throat. For this, endoscopy is performed and traces of cancer are investigated. Imaging tests are performed through scans such as MRI, PET and CT. If there is cancer, it is clarified at what stage it is.

If traces of HPV infection are found after the tests, further investigation may be needed. HPV infection is one of the causes of mouth cancer that should be evaluated carefully. If left unchecked, it may cause you to experience unexpected and very serious consequences.

mouth cancer treatment

Treatment Options For Mouth Cancer: Surgery, Radiation And Chemotherapy

In the mouth cancer treatment, treatment methods used in other types of cancer are used. The priority is to prevent the growth of cancerous cells or to completely eliminate them. For this, surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or targeted treatment is preferred.

Post-treatment supportive steps are needed to successfully complete mouth cancer treatment. You may need to change your eating habits during the recovery process. You can also get professional psychological support to keep your mental health strong.

1. Surgery

Surgery is performed to remove tumors. It is the first option for mouth cancer treatment, but we should not expect it to be suitable for everyone. People who cannot undergo surgery are directed to treatments such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.

  • Micrographic: It is a method in which the tumor is removed very thinly. The process is repeated until no cancer cells are seen. Change in appearance is minimal after surgery.
  • Robotic: Robotic surgery is performed to remove tumors located in the back of the throat or mouth. The tumor is reached and destroyed with robotic arms.
  • Glossectomy: It is a method for tongue cancer. In the early stages, the tongue is partially removed. Sometimes the tongue may need to be removed completely.
  • Mandibulectomy: If mouth cancer has grown into the jawbone, mandibulectomy is performed. In this method, the jawbone is removed and repaired afterwards.
  • Maxillectomy: If mouth cancer has spread to the front of the mouth, maxillectomy is performed. In this procedure, the maxilla bone in the palate is removed.
  • Laryngectomy: If the tumor has spread to the base of the tongue in mouth cancer, a laryngectomy is performed to remove it. In this method, the larynx must be removed.

Which method will be used varies depending on the patient’s condition. First of all, the spread of mouth cancer is controlled. Necessary plans can be made to remove the tumor. If surgery is not possible, patients’ suitability for other treatments is checked.

2. Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is used to destroy cancer cells or slow their growth. Various high energy particles are used. Depending on the level of oral cancer, it may be used in combination with other treatment methods. It is also the first choice for people who cannot undergo surgery.

Even if you are treated with surgery, very small cancer cells may remain behind. Radiation therapy can be used together with chemotherapy to kill such small cancer cells. When radiation therapy is applied before surgery, the aim is to shrink large cells.

Radiation therapy is not suitable for every oral cancer patient. The dentist should perform all checks completely. Because if you have an infection in your teeth or gums, it can spread quickly due to radiation. Radiation should not be approved without necessary checks.

3. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for advanced mouth cancer. Anti-cancer drugs are injected into the body, mixed into the blood and spread throughout the body. If surgical treatment is to be applied, two different chemotherapy methods are followed.

If the effects of mouth cancer have spread widely throughout your body, chemotherapy is preferred. Because if cancer cells have spread widely, it is difficult to destroy them with surgery. Chemotherapy prevents cancer from growing and can eliminate cancer symptoms.

Chemotherapy is not done by simply injecting medication into a vein. It can also be taken in liquid or tablet form. The most appropriate form is determined according to the patient. However, most of the time, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are applied together.

4. Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is an advanced treatment method. Generally, it is preferred if radiation therapy or chemotherapy does not work for mouth cancer. As part of the treatment, drugs are used that target cancer cells without affecting normal cells.

Various biochemical signals are needed for cancer cells to proliferate. Targeted therapy deprives cells from the signals. The cells cannot proliferate and their resistance to treatment changes. They either cannot show any resistance or they gain resistance very slowly.

Compared to other treatment methods, targeted therapy is a little more manageable. In particular, it has fewer side effects than chemotherapy. However, radiation therapy is a priority for mouth cancer and if it does not work, targeted therapy may be preferred.

5. Supportive Care for Patients

To stay in control of your health after being treated for oral cancer, you should focus on self-care. To do this, you should spend time in nature, get psychological support from your friends, and keep your mind strong by doing activities you enjoy.

  • Proper Nutrition: After mouth cancer treatment, pay attention to nutrition to support the healing process. Try to eat fruits and vegetables. You should get protein from foods such as fish and eggs. Most importantly, you should not stay dehydrated.
  • Managing Reactions: You may experience certain side effects after treatment. You can face with problems such as pain, extreme sensitivity, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. Listen to your doctor’s recommendations to manage all these.
  • Psychological Support: Even if everything goes well after mouth cancer treatment, do not neglect the emotional factors. You may experience sudden changes in your mood. If you can’t get support from friends and family, seek professional support.
  • Rehabilitation Program: The rehabilitation program is for those who cannot manage the post-treatment process well. A personalized supportive process is planned for you with the help of professionals such as psychologists, physiotherapists and dietitians.

You should be patient while taking supportive steps. Remember that your body needs rest after an intensive treatment process. You shouldn’t push yourself too hard, but you should get used to living away from anything that could cause poor oral hygiene.

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