What’s the oral cancer

Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth and the back of the throat. It is one of the 10 most common cancers in the world, and in some countries, the incidence of oral cancer ranks among the top three cancers. Oral cancer is most prevalent among middle-aged men, but women and younger people are increasingly affected.
Oral cancers develop on:

  • The tongue, the tissue lining the mouth and gums
  • Under the tongue, at the base of the tongue
  • The area of the throat at the back of the mouth

Main and common risk factors are:

  • Tobacco and alcohol use: any kind of tobacco, including cigarette smoking, and heavy alcohol use puts at risk for developing oral cancers. Using both tobacco and alcohol increases the risk even further.
  • HPV: Infection with the oral sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (specifically the HPV 16 type)
  • Trauma: traumas of the inner surface of the mouth. Age: risk increases with age. Sun Exposure: develops cancer of the lip. Diet: a diet low in fruits and vegetables increases OC risk.

About Prevention, dentists play an important role in the early detection of oral cancer. In particular, performing oral screening and early diagnosis increases the opportunities to detect the disease in its early stages.

  • Most oral cancers develop in areas that can be seen and/or palpated, meaning that early detection should be possible. Key signs
    are ulceration, induration, infiltration, bleeding, and nodes
  • See your dentist regularly: dentists and dental hygienists are the first to notice potentially cancerous growths.
  • Conduct a self-exam at least once a month, brush and floss your teeth regularly, do not smoke, drink alcohol in moderation, and remember that an active lifestyle boosts the immune system and help ward off cancer

Screening for oral cancer should include a thorough history and physical examination.

  • The clinician should review the social, familial, and medical history and should document risk behaviours (tobacco and alcohol usage), a history of head and neck radiotherapy, familial history of head and neck cancer, and a personal history of cancer.
  • The clinician should visually inspect and palpate the head, neck, oral, and pharyngeal regions, involving digital palpation of neck node regions, bimanual palpation of the floor of mouth and tongue
  • Observation of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa with an adequate light source; if suspicious lesions are present and persistent, a biopsy is required.

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