Oral Cancer: How and What Causes it?

A cancerous tissue development observed around or inside your mouth is known as Oral Cancer.

The Most Common kind of oral cancer
About 90% of oral cancers are because of Squamous cell carcinoma. They grow from tissues that are there inside your lips and mouth. Squamous cell carcinomas are known to spread when compared with basal cell carcinomas. The abrasion is asymptomatic most of the times, which makes the testing for oral cancer necessary. Most commonly, it occurs as reddish skin plaque or ulcer that increases gradually.

The exact location where oral cancer appears
Oral cancer is seen in tongue most commonly. It may also appear on the surface of the mouth, gums, and cheek lining. It can occur because of any type of tissue inside the mouth, including lymph tissue and salivary glands.

What should you look for?
Always keep observing for a skin abrasion, ulcer or lump that doesn’t disappear after couple of weeks. This may be a small abrasion on your lip, tongue or other parts of your mouth. It is normally pale in color, but could be discolored or dark. White patch known as leukoplakia or a red spot called erythroplakia on your mouth’s soft tissue is always an early sign. These abrasions do not cause any pain normally in initial stages, but you may develop pain and burning sensation when the tumor develops. Other signs to look for are problems in swallowing, sores in mouth and tongue problems. Oral cancers are painless most of the times.

What may put me at a great risk of developing oral cancer?
Alcohol tobacco, human papillomavirus and sun are some of the common risk factors. People who have had a transplant of hematopoietic stem cell are also at a greater risk. Chewing tobacco often causes complications from direct contact with mucous membranes and it should be prevented. Compared to women, men are at greater risk of getting this, especially men over the age of 40.

How to know if the lesion is cancerous or not?
Your dentist can certainly tell if the lesion is cancerous or not by conducting some tests. Biopsy is the best way to confirm. Benign and cancerous abrasions can appear similar to look at. A non-surgical brush biopsy can be done to identify the existence of cancerous cells. After the biopsy the cells will undergo evaluation of microscope to know if they are cancerous or not.

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