Oral cancer can be cured with early diagnosis

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Oral cancer can be cured with early diagnosis

Oral cancer can be cured with early diagnosis

Dept. Faculty   ¦   Nov 04, 2020 11:59:59 AM (IST)

Oral cancer can be cured with early diagnosis-1


Cancer is a disease caused by the uncontrolled growth of cells in a part of the body that invades and causes damage to the surrounding tissue. Oral cancer, which is not benign (Malignant) includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, the floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat) appears as an ulcer, swelling, growth or sore that recurs spontaneously. In India, Gingivobuccal (Cheek) cancer is the most common oral cavity cancer followed by Tongue Cancer and this can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.

The signs and symptoms of oral cancer

The Signs and/or symptoms of oral cancer include the following:

Swellings/thickenings, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas inside the mouth.

  • The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
  • Uncontrolled bleeding in the mouth
  • Difficulty in chewing, swallowing, speaking
  • Hoarseness/change in voice
  • Persistent sores on the face, neck, or the mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks

The Incidence of Oral Cancer in India

Oral cancer is the most common cancer in India amongst men, and the fifth most frequently occurring cancer amongst women. The projected burden of cancers among males by the year 2020 in India (According to GLOBCON data) shows the number of cases will be increasing in the lung (102,300), mouth (99,495), prostate (61,222), tongue (60,669) and larynx (36,079). 

Common Risk factors for the development of Oral cancer include

  • Smokeless tobacco users (Betel leaf, pan masala, areca nut chewing)
  • Smoking cigarette/beedi consumption
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Family history of cancer
  • Prolonged sun exposure (Some forms of cancer)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV).  Certain HPV strains are etiologic risk factors for Oro-pharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC).

Types of Oral Cancer:

There are four major types of oral cancer. These are…

Oral cancer can be cured with early diagnosis-2

Oral Squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) Figures 1 & 2): –More than 90 percent of cancers that occur in the oral cavity are squamous cell carcinomas. Normally, the throat and mouth are lined with squamous cells, which are flat and look like fish scales on a microscopic level. Squamous cell carcinoma develops when some squamous cells mutate and grow abnormally.

Verrucous carcinoma figure 3): About 5 percent of all oral cavity tumors are verrucous carcinoma, a type of very slow-growing cancer made up of squamous cells. This type of oral cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body, but it may invade nearby tissues.

Minor salivary gland carcinomas (figure 4): This disease includes several types of oral cancer that may develop on the minor salivary glands, which are located throughout the lining of the mouth and throat. These include mainly adenoid cystic carcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma and polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma.​

Oral cancer can be cured with early diagnosis-3

​Lymphoma: These are a rare group of Oral cancers develop in lymph tissue which is part of the immune system, are known as lymphomas. The tonsils and base of the tongue both contain lymphoid tissue.

The Diagnosis of Oral Cancer

The Diagnosis of Oral cancer is usually through a screening routine by a dentist/ doctor. The Biopsy of a suspicious-looking area for confirmation of Oral cancer is done through histopathology in a laboratory.

The Treatment

Oral Cancer is usually treated by surgical excision followed by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy (drug treatment) 

Take an active role in detecting oral cancer early!

All you need to do is conduct a self-exam at least once a month and visit a dentist/doctor on a regular schedule for a checkup of any non-healing ulcer/ swelling.

You could also visit the Department of Oral Pathology & Microbiology, Yenepoya Dental College under the Yenepoya (Deemed to be University). It was established in the year 1992, with its robust alumni of 3000 Undergraduates and 67 Postgraduates students and research scholars have many accolades and achievements to its credit. It strives to provide state of art Oral diagnostics and Molecular Pathology while excelling in research activities and instilling a holistic approach in dental education among students. Department contributes its expertise in fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and providing exemplary education and scientific research.