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Home > Health Hub > Article > THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MOUTH CANCER

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MOUTH CANCER

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   6 min     

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Overview

Oral cancer is the development of cancerous cells anywhere in the mouth. This cancer can affect the tongue, lips, throat and walls of the mouth. It appears as a sore or growth that does not go away and can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated.

Causes of Mouth Cancer

Smoking, chewing tobacco and consumption of alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer by over 30 times. Cancer starts with the lip line or insides of the mouth and spread to the neck and head if not treated at an early stage.

Lack of proper dental hygiene, excessive consumption of meat or processed foods and overexposure to UV rays are other factors that increase the risk of oral cancer.

Types of Mouth Cancer

The type of mouth cancer a person has depends on the types of cells you cancer begins with; however, most common types of mouth cancer are squamous cell carcinoma. 

Squamous cell carcinoma- Squamous cells are flat, thin cells that look somewhat like fish-scales. These cells can be found in the tissue that forms the surface of the skin, the lining of the respiratory and digestive tracts, and in the lining of the hollow organs of the body. Almost 95 out of 100 cases of mouth cancer are squamous cancer. 

Other squamous cell carcinomas include:

Oral Verrucous Carcinoma: Verrucous carcinoma is an unusual and rare subtype of squamous cell carcinoma. It tends to spread fast to other parts of the body and grows very deeply into the surrounding tissues. It is also known as Ackerman tumour. 

Oral Melanoma: Melanoma, one of the most serious kinds of cancer, generally develops in the pigment-producing cells that give our skin its colour. Melanoma of the neck and head can occur anywhere on the skin or inside the oral and nasal cavity. This type of cancer has one of the most biologically, unpredictable behaviour.

While most of the mouth cancers are squamous cell cancer, it highly varies as to where it all starts. The treatment for cancer is differentiated on the basis of severity and the location of the cancer cells. Some of the specific areas where mouth cancer begins are-

The floor of Mouth Cancer

The floor of mouth cancer is a "head and neck cancer" caused when the cells making the floor of mouth grow uncontrollably and form tumours and lesions. This type of cancer begins in the horse-shaped area under the tongue and is often mistaken for a canker sore.

The floor of mouth cancer is caused when normal, healthy cells are turned into abnormal cells due to a genetic mutation.

Symptoms-

  • Sore inside the mouth that does not heal and keeps growing

  • Red, white, or dark patches inside the mouth

  • A lump in your neck

  • Mouth pain

Gum Cancer

Gum cancer is a "head and neck cancer" caused when the cells in the gums grow uncontrollably and form tumours and lesions. This type of cancer is treatable if found in the early stages; however, it can be easily be mistaken for gingivitis. 

Symptoms-

  • Red, white, or dark patches on the gums

  • Thick areas of the gums

  • Bleeding or cracking gums

Hard Palate Cancer  

Hard palate cancer is a "head and neck cancer" caused when the cells making the bony part of the roof of the mouth grow uncontrollably and form tumours and lesions. It is a rare kind of cancer and can sometimes create a barrier between the nasal cavity and mouth.

Symptoms-

  • Bad breath

  • Dentures that no longer fit

  • Loose teeth or pain around your teeth

  • Changes in speech

  • Difficulty moving your jaw

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Lumps in the neck

Inner Cheek Cancer (Buccal Mucosa Cancer)

Also known as Buccal Mucosa Cancer, Inner cheek cancer is a "head and neck cancer" caused when the cells making the inner cheek grow uncontrollably and form tumours and lesions. It generally develops in the flat, thin cells, lining the buccal mucosa and other parts of the mouth.

Symptoms-

  • White, red, or dark patches in the mouth

  • Mouth pain or numbness

  • Difficulty moving your jaw

  • A lump in your mouth

  • Soreness or a feeling that something is caught in your throat

  • Hoarseness

  • Severe ear pain

  • Dentures that no longer fit

  • Loose teeth or pain around your teeth

  • Jaw pain or swelling

Lip Cancer

Lip cancer is a "head and neck cancer" caused when the cells making the lips grow uncontrollably and form tumours and lesions. It is one of the most common types of mouth cancer and can be treated if diagnosed at an early stage.

Symptoms-

  • A sore on the lip that does not heal

  • Bleeding, pain, or numbness in the lip

  • A lump or thickening of the lips

Tongue Cancer

The floor of mouth cancer is a "head and neck cancer" caused when the cells making the tongue grow uncontrollably and form tumours and lesions. This type of cancer develops in the squamous cells present on the surface of the tongue.

Symptoms-

  • Red, white, or dark patches on the tongue

  • A sore throat that does not go away

  • A sore spot (ulcer) or lump on the tongue that does not go away

  • Mouth numbness

  • Pain when swallowing

  • Bleeding from the tongue

Symptoms of Mouth Cancer

During the early stages of cancer, symptoms are not very prominent, but it is advisable that smokers and drinkers get a dental check-up done regularly to diagnose cancer at its early stages. Some of the most common symptoms to be observed in almost any oral cancer are-

  • Red patches inside the mouth

  • Ulcers and sores that do not heal

  • Persistent swelling

  • Lumps in the mouth

  • Sore throat

  • Painful tongue and difficulty while swallowing

Although these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have cancer, it is best to get a doctor's opinion if you have a doubt.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Mouth Cancer

Depending on the size of the tumour and how far cancer has spread, the cancer is categorised from Stage 1 to 4. Cancer is diagnosed, and the stage is determined by brush biopsy, endoscopy and tests like X-rays, CTs and MRIs.

The treatment depends on what stage the cancer is at and its location. The person's general health condition and preferred treatment are also taken into account.

The tumour is surgically removed and in advanced stages, sometimes surrounding, and related issues will also be removed to avoid cancer from spreading.

Mouth cancer is very sensitive to radiation therapy, this treatment method is particularly effective, and in the early stages, only this method is used as surgery will not be required. If the cancer is advanced and has chances of spreading or returning, chemotherapy and targeted drug therapy are also prescribed.

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Tags:  cancer,Dental treatments,Mouth Cancer

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