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Mouth  Cancer

Part of head and neck cancer, mouth cancer can occur in any part of the oral cavity such as lips, gums, tongue and cheeks.

Causes Risk factors include smoking, alcohol, tobacco chewing, family history, exposure to sun, HPV, or exposure to certain chemicals such as asbestos, sulfuric acid and formaldehyde. Mouth cancer can occur in a number of places including the lips tongue cheeks and gums. It occurs in twice as many men as women, is a higher risk in people who smoke and drink regularly, is often detected during routine dental check-ups, and is treatable if detected early.

Symptoms include persistent mouth sores, a white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil or lining of the mouth, difficulty in swallowing or chewing, soreness in the throat, pain in the teeth or jaw or a lump in the neck.

Prevention Prevention measures include quitting the use of alcohol and tobacco and avoiding second-hand smoke, avoid chewing betel nuts, protection from UV exposure, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and avoid risks for oral HPV infection. Ulcers that last for more than two weeks need to be examined and checked.

Causes Oral, throat and lung cancers have a strong link to smoking. Smoking tobacco releases thousands of harmful chemical compounds into the mouth and the air. Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical compound present in tobacco plants. A smoker’s chance of having cancer increases by 10 to 20 times. In the mouth, the most commonly affected areas are lips, under the tongue, the tongue itself, cheeks and the palate. In the mouth, the most commonly affected areas are lips, under the tongue, the tongue itself, cheeks and the palate. Chronic excessive drinking alcohol too can irritate the cells in the mouth.

Stages There are four stages of oral cancer. Stage I: The tumor is 2 cm or smaller, and cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes. Stage II: The tumor is between 2-4 cm, and cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes. Stage III: The tumor is either larger than 4 cm and hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes, or is any size and has spread to one lymph node, but not to other parts of the body. Stage IV: Tumors are any size and the cancer cells have spread to nearby tissues, the lymph nodes, or other parts of the body (metastasis cancer).

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