Oral cancer is a disease that develops on the lining of the mouth or throat. It starts as small lumps called papillomas. Oral cancer is broadly classified into two types – squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Depending on the type, it can also develop inside your mouth on your tongue, gums, lips, and other parts of your mouth. Early detection is vital because oral cancer can be deadly if it is not treated early on. Here take a look on the causes, risk factors, symptoms, and its treatment.
The Causes of Oral Cancer
The causes of oral cancer can be classified as such:
– Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos is the most common cause of mesothelioma, which has been linked to oral cancer.
– HPV: A virus, known as human papillomavirus, can cause oral cancers. It is mostly passed through sexual contact and through oral sex with another person who has the virus.
– Tobacco: Smoking increases your chances of developing oral cancer because tobacco smoke contains carcinogens.
– Alcohol: Drinking alcohol reduces the risk of developing most cancers, but it enhances the risks for people who drink more than 5 drinks every day.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
There are many risk factors for oral cancer. The most common is smoking, but there are also many others. They include chewing tobacco, alcohol consumption, HPV infection, and family history. Another thing that increases the risk is the duration of exposure to ultraviolet light from natural or artificial sources.
Who is Likely to Get Oral Cancer?
According to Oral Cancer Awareness Month, adults who smoke and drink alcohol are more likely to get oral cancer. Those who work in professions with a higher risk of exposure to carcinogens, such as miners and painters, can also be at an increased risk for developing the disease.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The symptoms of oral cancer are not always clear, which is why it’s important to see a ENT doctor if you have any concerns. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include a lump or sore that does not heal within two weeks, difficulty swallowing, pain when chewing or talking, and a loose tooth.
Treatments for Oral Cancer
The most common treatments for oral cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The type of treatment recommended is based on the stage of the cancer. Typically, people are given a combination of these treatments because not one treatment will work by itself to cure or control oral cancer.
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