ORAL CANCER: ARE YOU AT RISK?

By Dr. Priscilla C. Ngaihte

Lawmte hon nget ziak leh awlmohtu tamtak in a hon gen ziak un I phattuampih khak uh leh chi in hiai article “Oral Cancer” toh kisai ka hon gelh ahi. Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), Delhi a ka presentation piak apan ka hon laksawn (excerpt) ahi.

OVERVIEW

Oral Cancer, the 6th most common cancer in men and the 14th most common cancer in women includes; cancers of the mouth, the throat and the pharynx (part of the throat). While this can also develop elsewhere in any part of the mouth tumors most often begin on the floor of the mouth, on the tongue, or on the surface areas of the mouth.

Oral cancer most often occur in people over the age of 40 and studies show that the ratio of men and women affected by this disease is 2:1.

Causes & Factors:

Risk factors for oral cancers include the use of tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and dipping snuff. According to a recent study (MAIDS) 90% of patients who develop mouth cancer use tobacco, and smokers are 6 times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers. The longer patients use tobacco, the higher the risk becomes. Secondhand smoke is a related risk factor.

Alcohol use also increase cancer risk. According to the American Cancer Society, alcohol users account for 75% to 80% of all oral cancer patients. People who use tobacco and alcohol simultaneously run the most serious risk for developing these cancers.

Sun and ultraviolet rays can cause cancer of the lip. In many cases, patients who develop this type of cancer are those who work outside, exposed to direct sunlight.

Other risk factors associated with oral and oropharyngeal cancers include Plummer-Vinson syndrome (a rare condition of iron deficiency and abnormalities in the oral cavity), human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, poor diet. Other causes also include some medications used to treat immune system diseases and patients who have undergone an organ transplant.

Possible signs and symptoms:

Bad breath
A sore, irritation or lump or thick patch in the mouth or throat
A white or red patch in the mouth
A feeling that something is caught in the throat
Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
Numbness in the tongue or other areas of the mouth
Pain in one ear without hearing loss
Changes in voice
Irritation (in patients who wear dentures)
Lumps in the neck or cheek
Numbness and/or bleeding in the mouth
Pain in the mouth
Persistent sores
Sore throat and painful swallowing
Weight loss

DIAGNOSIS

Medical History: The first step in diagnosing oral and oropharyngeal cancer is by evaluating the patient’s medical history. Physicians consider risk factors, symptoms, and family history and perform a thorough physical examination. If the physician suspects mouth cancer, the targeted tissue is evaluated for cancer cells.

Laboratory Tests: Doctors may use exfoliative cytology to detect oral cancer. This test involves scraping or brushing questionable cells from the tissue and smearing them on a slide for examination. This procedure is easy and helpful for early diagnosis, but abnormal cells detected may not be cancerous (malignant). A biopsy must be performed to confirm if they are.

Biopsy: A biopsy involves removing a small piece of tissue and examining it closely under a microscope. Prior to this procedure, the patient is given anesthesia, either local or general.

Incisional biopsy involves surgically removing tissue for analysis, and

Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) involves using a needle to remove the cells in question. This type of biopsy is often used to find out if cancer has spread (metastasized) or if it is recurring.

Panendoscopy: Another kind of diagnostic test may be used to provide a better look at regions that are hard to see. A panendoscopy, which is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia, can help the physician evaluate more of the oral cavity, oropharynx, esophagus, trachea (windpipe), and bronchi (tubes that lead to the lungs).

TREATMENT

Oral cancers are treated using chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. In many cases of mouth cancer, a combination of treatments is used. Treatment usually depend on the stage and location of the disease, the size of tumor, or if the mouth cancer has spread.

LOWER YOR RISK:

Most oral cancers are preventable. As mentioned above 75 % of oral cancers are related to tobacco use, alcohol use, or use of both substances together. Using both tobacco and alcohol puts you at greater risk than using either substance alone.

Do not use tobacco products- cigarettes, chew or snuff, pipes or cigars. Tobacco in all forms play a role in oral cancers.

If you drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. Excessive alcohol use can increase your risk of oral cancer.
Use lip balm that contains sunscreen: exposure to sunlight is a factor for lip cancer.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables as part of a low- fat, high fiber diet may help reduce cancer risk.

Most important, see your dentist on a regular schedule

Source: zogam.com

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About Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi Delhi

Zou Students' Association Delhi Branch
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