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Understanding Mouth cancer

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(Image: GETTY)

Figure 1 Shows persistent sores and lumps.

Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, has become common with time resulting in health-related issues. This is where a tumour develops in the lining of the mouth. It may be on the surface of the mouth, the tongue, inside of the mouth, the roof of the mouth (Palate), the lips or gums.

Symptoms of mouth cancer

• Sore mouth ulcers that don't heal within several weeks.

• Unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth that don't go away.

• Unexplained, persistent lumps in the neck that don't go away.

• Unexplained looseness of teeth, or sockets that don't heal after extractions.

• Unexplained, persistent numbness or an odd feeling on the lip or tongue.

• Sometimes, white or red patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue – these can be early signs of cancer, so they should also be investigated.

• Changes in speech, such as a lisp. Mouth cancer causes speaking and swallowing difficult. Swallowing can, therefore, interfere with the windpipe causing small pieces of food to enter and get lodged in the lungs. This can lead to chest infection (Anaemia).

Causes of mouth cancer

• Smoking or using other forms of tobacco

• Drinking- People who drink alcohol have a higher risk as compared to the normal population.

• Infection with the Human Papilloma Virus that causes genital warts.

oral cancer advance

Figure 2 Shows advanced stages of oral cancer.

Prevention and treatment

cancer ribbon

Figure 3 Shows oral cancer awareness ribbon.

1.Surgery – This is where the cancerous cells are surgically removed.

2.Radiotherapy- Where high energy X-rays are used to kill cancerous cells.

3.Chemotherapy – Where powerful medications are used to kill cancerous cells.

4.Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking.

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