Early Signs of Oral Cancer

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Early Signs of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer, often times called mouth cancer, doesn’t only occur in the oral cavity. The oral cavity is the region inside lining of the lips and cheeks that also include the lips. Oral Cancer can also occur in other areas of the mouth.

There is no exact cause of oral cancer, but neglect to ones hygiene and health will be contributing factors to cancer. Tobacco of any kind in the forms of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco and other variations increase the risk of oral cancer. According to the Mouth Cancer Foundation, about 90 percent of those with oral cancer consume tobacco. Other contributing factors include heavy use of alcohol and the risk is even higher if you combine drinking and smoking. Other factors that will aid to the development of oral cancer include age and eating habits. Most people who develop oral cancer get it around the age of 40 with a diet that is lacking the nutrition of fruits and vegetables.


Oral or Mouth Cancer can occur almost anywhere in the inner or outer portion of the mouth. This includes lips, tongue, throat, salivary glands, pharynx and larynx. Some signs and symptoms that one can look for when trying to identify early signs of oral cancer include the following:

  • Sores, swelling or lumps in or around your mouth or throat
  • Red or White lesions in your mouth or lip
  • Numbness or pain anywhere in your mouth
  • Pain in one of your ears without any loss of hearing
  • Loose teeth with no apparent cause
  • Lingering sore throat
  • The feeling of a lump or something obstructed in your throat
  • Trouble moving your jaw or tongue


How to identify before it’s too late

You can go to your local dentist and ask for an oral cancer examination. This is a fairly quick and painless test that detects the potential cancer in its early stages. The examination should include the standard checkup of your teeth and gums, but the dentist should be looking for other signs of oral cancer by examining ones lips, throat, tongue, neck and jaw. Not a lot of people take advantage of these screenings, but they should be done twice a year usually when you come in for a dental cleaning.

If a dentist suspects that oral cancer may develop due to signs and symptoms and biopsy is recommended to treat the area. If oral cancer is positively identified then surgery will be required followed by chemotherapy and radiation.

Dr. Powers and his staff provide regular checkup for symptoms and signs of oral cancer to ensure his patients have ample time and options to make the best decision for their situation. Patients at Greenbelt MD Family Dentistry will certainly be in good hands.

Ways To Treat Oral Cancer

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Ways To Treat Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a terrible condition that affects millions of people. Cells in the mouth will grow in unnatural ways can ultimately lead to death if untreated. The following methods are used to treat oral cancer.


Chemotherapy is one of the main treatment options for oral cancer. The cancerous cells in the body are destroyed using chemicals that stop them from growing. There are five categories of drugs that are used for chemotherapy purposes and they can either be delivered orally via a pill intravenously as a liquid or directly injected into muscle tissue. While chemotherapy can be quite effective at ridding the body of cancerous cells, it comes with the drawback of also negatively affecting regular cells. Symptoms like hair loss, nausea, fatigue, and intestinal problems are often present with chemotherapy.


Radiotherapy is also another treatment method for oral cancer. This treatment uses energy beams created from ionizing radiation with a machine. The energy destroys cells that have been targeted by breaking down their DNA and preventing growth. Normal cells are also affected by this treatment, but normal cells have the ability to repair themselves. This treatment is usually used when mouth cancer is detected in its early stages, although it can be used in later stages and combined with other treatments. In later stages, cancer symptoms may be alleviated by radiotherapy.

Targeted Drug Therapy

Targeted drugs therapy tackles the problem of oral cancer by altering the growth of cancer cells with specific drugs. The way this treatment differs from others is that it aims to kill the cancerous cells without destroying the surrounding healthy cells. The treatment works on a molecular level to accomplish this to block enzymes and influence the normal process of cell death. There are many clinical trials that are being used to develop drugs that will perfect this kind of treatment.


Surgery allows medical professionals to fight oral cancer by removing the cancerous portions of tissue from the body. Sometimes cancers may form tumorous masses or even spread to other parts of the body that will limit the ability of the body to fight infection. The surgeon will cut away tumors, and sometimes remove portions of the jaw or tongue if the tumor is large enough. If cancer has spread to the neck, the lymph nodes may need to be removed. Implants may need to be placed in the mouth to reconstruct it after surgery. This treatment is often used with others as well.
When detected early enough, treatments can get rid of oral cancer and help people live normal lives.

Everything You Need To Know About Oral Cancer

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Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer is a health condition where a tumor occurs on the surface of the mouth, tongue, gums or lips. A tumor can also occur on the pharynx (this is the part of the the mouth that is connected to the windpipe) as well as the tonsils and salivary glands. The main symptoms of oral cancer are:

– a lump

– ulcers

– white or red patches on your tongue or lining of your mouth

If you experience any of these symptoms for more than 3 weeks, especially if you are a heavy smoker or drinker, please visit your general physician as soon as possible.

Types of Oral Cancer

Cancers typically form on the outside or inside layer of the body. A specific case of cancer is categorized depending on the part of the body and the type of cells where the cancer originates. For oral cancer, the most common variant is known as squamous cell carcinoma. This specific type of mouth cancer accounts for 9 out of 10 of cases of oral cancer in human beings. The cancer typically occurs in the mouth and sometimes under the skin.

There are also other types of oral cancer such as:

– adenocarcinomas: these are oral cancers that mostly occur in the salivary glands

– oral malignant melanoma: these are oral cancers that occur in specific cells called melanocytes. Melanocyte cells are responsible for giving the skin its natural color.

Causes of Mouth Cancer

Mouth or oral cancer is caused by abnormal growth of cells in the mouth and adjacent organs. Just like other cancers that occur in other parts of the body, mouth cancer is caused by cells having unusual life cycles that result in them growing and reproducing uncontrollably.

Some of the main factors that may predispose you to developing oral cancer include:

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) infection. This is the same virus that causes Genital Warts

– Excessive consumption of alcohol. Typically, people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol are more likely to suffer from mouth cancer.

– Smoking or consuming tobacco infused products. Products that contain any form of tobacco can easily increase your risk of developing mouth cancer.

Who Is Affected?

Anyone can suffer from oral cancer. However, this type of cancer is very rare and accounts for 1 in every 50 cancer cases reported. Cases of oral cancer are most common in adults aged between 50 and 80 years old. Oral cancer is still common is younger adults but most of these cases are attributed to HPV infections. This specific type of cancer is more common in men than women. This is mainly because men drink more alcohol than women.


If you are looking for Treatment in the Greenbelt, MD area trust your dental services with Dr. John Powers and staff

There are numerous treatments for oral cancer. There are however 3 main globally recognised treatments regimens:

– Radiotherapy: This is where powerful x-rays are employed to neutralize the cancerous cells and stop further growth.

– Chemotherapy: This is where special medication is used to eliminate cancer cells in the body.

– Surgery: This is where doctors use surgical methods to remove cancerous cells from affected parts of the body and surrounding tissues.

Some treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be combined for maximum efficiency. Also, these treatments may be used after surgery to prevent future occurrence of cancerous cells in affected areas.

Side Effects of Oral Cancer

Treatment of mouth cancer can result in various side effects such as impaired speech and difficulty in swallowing or dysphagia. The latter side effect (dysphagia) can be fatal if food particles get into the airways and go into the lungs thus causing adverse reactions such as pneumonia. Patients should therefore be monitored closely.

Reducing Risk

Anyone can reduce their risk of developing oral cancer by doing the following:

– regulating their alcohol consumption as recommended by health experts.

– avoiding smoking and tobacco products.

– sticking to a mediterranean diet that includes fish, olive oil, citrus fruits, tomatoes and plenty of fresh veggies. Healthy eating is a must.

– Regular oral or dental check-ups can also help with early detection of cases of mouth cancer. Your dentist should be able to identify the symptoms of mouth cancer very early in advance.

Final Word

If oral cancer is detected early, a person can pursue a proper course of treatment and get relief within no time.

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