Mouth cancer refers to cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth. Mouth cancer can occur on the: Lips, Gums, Tongue, Inner lining of the cheeks, Roof of the mouth, Floor of the mouth
Cancer that occurs on the inside of the mouth is sometimes called oral cancer or oral cavity cancer.
Mouth cancer is one of several types of cancer grouped in a category called head and neck cancers.
Factors that can increase your risk of mouth cancer include:
- Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others
- Heavy alcohol use
- Excessive sun exposure to your lips
- A sexually transmitted virus called human papillomavirus (HPV)
- A weakened immune system by HIV/AIDS or drugs
Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer may include:
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- A sore that bleeds
- A growth, lump or thickening of the skin or lining of your mouth
- Loose teeth
- Poorly fitting dentures
- Tongue pain
- Jaw pain or stiffness
- Difficult or painful chewing
- Difficult or painful swallowing
- Sore throat which is not cured by antibiotics
In addition to the signs and symptoms above, a definite diagnosis of mouth cancer is obtained when a sample of the abnormal tissue/swelling is obtained and viewed under a microscope, a process medically termed as histology
Treatment for mouth cancer depends on your cancer’s location and stage, as well as your overall health and personal preferences. You may have just one type of treatment, or you may undergo a combination of cancer treatments. Treatment options include surgery to completely cut off the tumour or debulk it, radiation therapy whereby rays are directed towards the abnormal tissue to shrink it and chemotherapy which involves using drugs to treat the cancer
Cure rates vary depending on the time of diagnosis, location of the cancer in the mouth and modality of treatment used.