Oral cancer

Oral cancer is part of neck and head cancer and can progress to any area of mouth or oropharyngeal region. Most often, oral cancer begins inside the mouth or on the tongue floor. Most cases of oral cancer are characterized by the presence of squamous cells that cover the surface of the lips, tongue and mouth. These types of cancers are called squamous cell carcinomas.

When oral cancer develops, it spreads throughout the body by way of the lymphatic system. Squamous cells that are infiltrated in lymphatic system are mediated by lymph. Often, cancer cells first appear near the lymph nodes situated near the neck. Squamous cells can spread to other parts of the throat, lungs or other areas of the body.

Who develops oral cancer?

There are no scientific explanations on the propensity of people to oral cancer, but it is not a contagious disease.

Researches have shown that people exposed to specific risk factors have a greater predisposition to manifest oral cancer than others.

Predisposing risk factors:

– Consumption of tobacco, whether smoked, chewed, etc., leads to the development of oral cancer. Old smokers who combine smoking with alcohol are among the most prone to the risk of developing oral cancer.

– Alcohol – as the amount of alcohol increases or is associated with smoking, the greater the likelihood of developing cancer is.

– Sun rays – cancer of the lips can be caused by prolonged exposure to the sun without using protective factors.

– Personal medical history that show in head and neck cancer experiences.

Earlier detection of oral cancer can be performed during a routine dentist or family doctor, checking for the specific signs.


The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:

– White lesions (leukoplakia) that becomes malign or mixed white and red spots having higher chances of malignancy

– Vivid red lesions, smooth surface that often becomes malign

– Inflammation or lesions located on the lips or inside the mouth that does not heal

– Oral bleeding

– Tooth loss

– Pain or difficulty on swallowing

– Discomfort in wearing dentures

– The appearance of a lump in the neck

– Earache.


If a person shows symptoms that might indicate the presence of oral cancer, the mouth and throat are examined to detect if there is damage as white lesions, red lesions, lumps, swelling, inflammation or other problems.

Your dentist or family doctor will examine the patient starting from the oral floor, continuing with the palace, gums, tongue, throat and cheeks. The ganglionic groups are palpated, and from where is observed an abnormal area, a biopsy is done; this is an accurate diagnosis which can assert whether or not the area is cancerous.

Oral Cancer Treatment

If biopsy confirms the presence of cancer, next step is to reveal the stage of the disease to guide the patient to the most appropriate treatment plan that is determined based on tumor size and degree of development of cancer in other body areas. For this, the patient will do some laboratory tests, and sometimes endoscopy may be necessary.

Reduce your exposure to the sun (and not use lotions with UV protection), consume a balanced diet, smoking is forbidden and it is recommended to consume moderately alcoholic beverages.

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