Informative guide to oral cancer symptoms & warning signs - By Dr. Ranjit Mandwe
India contributes a third of all oral cancer cases globally
Men over age 50 and tobacco users are at risk of developing oral cancer
Early diagnosis of oral cancer symptoms can lead to a cure
Oral cancer is one of the most common types of cancers globally, and India contributes to almost 33% of all global oral cancer cases. The high number of oral cancer cases can be attributed to a lack of awareness, unhygienic oral habits, and tobacco and alcohol consumption. Annually, India reports approximately 77,000 oral cancer cases and 52,000 deaths due to oral cancer, making it a potent health risk to the country’s population.
While early diagnosis and treatment can cure oral cancer, making it less fatal, it can have lasting effects if left untreated. To help you increase your awareness of this condition, here is a brief overview of the symptoms, treatment, and preventive measures linked to oral cancer.
What is oral cancer?
Cancer causes a mutation in cells, making them multiply uncontrollably. These cells finally outgrow the number of healthy cells in the body and form a mass or lump called a tumor. Finally, they invade or metastasize, spreading to other healthy tissues or organs in the body.
In oral cancer, tumors and unexplained growth occur in mouthparts such as the tongue, lips, cheeks, sinuses, the base of the mouth, the pharynx, and the hard and soft palate.
Oral cancer symptoms
Early diagnosis and treatment of the condition can provide complete relief from oral cancer. Therefore, if you notice or experience any of the following oral cancer symptoms, rush to your doctor or dentist for immediate medical diagnosis and treatment.
- Development of patches that are white and red in colour and feel like soft velvet inside and on the mouth
- Unexplained presence or occurrence of bumps, lumps, swellings, crusts, and rough spots on the lips, inside the mouth and gums that do not heal
- Sudden bleeding from the mouth
- Trouble or pain while drinking and swallowing
- Sudden loose teeth
- The feeling of having a lump in your throat at all times
- A sudden earache that won’t subside
- Unexplained and sudden weight loss
- Sudden hoarseness or change in voice
- Difficulty wearing dentures
- Chronic sore throat, stiffness, or pain in the jaw and tongue
Some of these symptoms can also be signs of other illnesses and conditions; therefore, there is no need to panic. However, if you experience these symptoms for long with no sign of healing, contact your dentist or family doctor at the earliest.