Oral Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment Options
Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the mouth, tongue or throat. This form of cancer is the sixth most common form of cancer in the world and approximately 48,250 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with it this year. The symptoms of oral cancer can be difficult to recognize, which is why it’s important to be aware of the potential causes, symptoms, risk factors and treatment options.
Causes of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is caused mainly by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a virus that can be transmitted through sexual contact. Other potential causes include tobacco products, such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco, and excessive consumption of alcohol. Exposure to certain chemicals, such as those found in paints, can also increase the risk of developing the disease.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
If you notice changes in your mouth, such as a feeling of discomfort or tenderness, a lump or an irregular bump in your mouth that doesn’t go away, it’s important to talk to your doctor. Other symptoms of oral cancer include persistent sore throat, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing and persistent bad breath.
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
There are certain lifestyle factors that can put people at higher risk of developing oral cancer, such as smoking or using smokeless tobacco, excessive consumption of alcohol and excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun. People with weakened immune systems are also at greater risk for developing the disease.
Treatment Options for Oral Cancer
The treatment for oral cancer depends on the stage of the disease, but generally includes surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Surgery is typically the first step in treating oral cancer and involves removing the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue to ensure all the cancerous cells are removed. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are used to kill any remaining cancerous cells.
Oral cancer can be life threatening, which is why it’s important to be aware of the potential causes, symptoms, risk factors and treatment options. To reduce the risk of developing the disease, it’s important to follow a healthy lifestyle, avoiding smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. Additionally, it’s important to visit the dentist regularly to monitor any changes in your mouth. Early detection is key in treating oral cancer, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you notice any changes.
Keywords: oral cancer, mouth cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV), lifestyle factors, surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, smoking, alcohol, early detection.