Mouth Cancer

Mouth Cancer

Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, refers to the growth of malignant cells in any part of the mouth, including the lips, gums, tongue, inner lining of the cheeks, and roof or floor of the mouth. It is a type of head and neck cancer and can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.

When cancer develops in any of these structures, it can cause a range of symptoms such as persistent mouth sores, pain or difficulty swallowing, changes in speech or voice, unexplained weight loss, and a lump or thickening in the mouth. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment.


Mouth cancer symptoms and signs might include:

  • A persistent ache in the mouth or on the lips.
  • In your mouth, there is a white or red area.
  • Missing teeth.
  • A growth or lump inside your mouth.
  • Mouth ache.
  • An earache.
  • Difficulty swallowing or discomfort.


Mouth cancers originate when cells in the mouth or on the lips experience DNA changes (mutations). The instructions directing a cell’s actions are encoded in its DNA. When healthy cells would stop growing and dividing, mutations tell the cells to keep doing so. A tumour might develop when the abnormal mouth cancer cells accumulate. They may eventually expand from the inside of the mouth to other parts of the head, neck, or the entire body.

Mouth cancers typically begin in the flat, thin cells (squamous cells) that line your lips and the inside of your mouth. Most cases of mouth cancer are squamous cell carcinomas. Mouth cancer is caused by changes in squamous cells, which are not fully understood. But medical professionals have identified some elements that could raise the risk of oral cancer.

Mouth Cancer
A Human Vector of Mouth illustration

Risk Elements

Several things can raise your risk of developing mouth cancer, such as:

  • Any type of tobacco use, including snuff, chewing tobacco, cigars, pipes, cigarettes, and cigars, among others
  • Heavy drinking
  • Getting your lips too much in the sun.
  • The sexually transmitted illness human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • A lowered immunological response


There is currently no recognised way to prevent oral cancer. But if you do the following, you can lessen your chance of oral cancer:

  • Stop Smoking Or Refrain From Starting: Stop using cigarettes if you do. Don’t start smoking if you don’t already. Smoking or chewing tobacco exposes the cells in your mouth to potentially harmful substances that can cause cancer.
  • If you do drink alcohol, do so sparingly: Too much alcohol consumed over time may irritate the cells in your mouth, raising your risk of mouth cancer. If you decide to drink, do so in moderation. Accordingly, men older than 65 and women of all ages are permitted to have up to one drink per day, while men 65 and younger are permitted to have up to two drinks per day.
  • Don’t Expose Your Lips To The Sun Too Much: When possible, seek for shade to avoid burning the skin on your lips. So that you may fully protect your mouth and the rest of your face, put on a hat with a wide brim. As part of your regular sun protection practise, apply a lip sunscreen cream.
  • Visit The Dentist Frequently: Ask your dentist to check your entire mouth as part of a standard dental examination for any abnormalities that could be signs of mouth cancer or precancerous alterations.

Estimating The Cancer’s Severity

Your doctor tries to assess the extent (stage) of your cancer after diagnosing oral cancer. Staging exams for oral cancer could include:

  • Examining Your Neck With A Tiny Camera: A small, flexible camera with a light may be passed down your throat during an endoscopic procedure by your doctor to check for indications that cancer has spread from your mouth.
  • Imaging Exams: Several imaging procedures can be used to evaluate whether the cancer has progressed outside of your mouth. X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and positron emission tomography (PET) scans are a few examples of imaging examinations. Not everybody need every test. Based on your health, your doctor will decide which tests are necessary.

The Roman numbers I through IV are used to denote the stages of oral cancer. A lesser stage, such as stage I, denotes a more localised malignancy. A higher stage, such as stage IV, denotes a more serious case of cancer or the spread of the disease to further parts of the head, neck, or body. The stage of your cancer aids your doctor in deciding on the best course of action.


The treatment for mouth cancer depends on various factors such as the stage of cancer, the location and size of the tumor, and the patient’s overall health. Here are some common treatment options:

  • Surgery: This involves removing the tumor and some healthy tissue around it. Surgery used alone or in combination with other treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy: This involves using high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. Used alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy: This involves using drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy used alone or in combination with other treatments.
  • Targeted therapy: This involves using drugs that specifically target the cancer cells, sparing healthy cells.
  • Immunotherapy: This involves using drugs that help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment options for your individual case. They can provide you with more information about the risks, benefits, and potential side effects of each treatment.

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