First indications of oral cancer and recommended next actions
When abnormal cells proliferate uncontrolled in the tissues of the lips, tongue, gums, inner cheeks, roof or floor of the mouth, and the back of the neck, oral cancer, a kind of cancer that spreads in the mouth and throat of a person, arises. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that oral cancer makes up about 30% of all cancer cases in India.
Dr. Mandeep Singh Malhotra, head of the oncology department at the CK Birla Hospital (R) in Delhi, said in an interview with HT Lifestyle that anyone can get oral cancer, but those who smoke, drink excessively, have a family history of the disease, or have weakened immune systems are more likely to do so.
Dr. Mandeep Singh Malhotra emphasized the early indications of oral cancer, saying, "The early indications of oral cancer are often neglected since they are misdiagnosed as typical dental issues. Yet, it is crucial to be aware of these symptoms and indications as early diagnosis might improve the effectiveness of therapy.
According to him, mouth sores that don't heal, ongoing mouth pain, trouble swallowing or speaking, unexplained bleeding, lumps or growths in the mouth or throat, red or white patches on the lips or in the mouth, sudden, unexplained weight loss, a persistent sore throat or hoarseness, and pain or discomfort in the mouth or throat are all indications of oral cancer. Precancerous alterations, particularly in those who chew tobacco, include red/white patches and/or a reduction in mouth opening.
When discussing how it is diagnosed, he noted, "It is crucial to contact a doctor or dentist as soon as possible if one detects any of the above-mentioned indications and symptoms. In order to look for any lumps or abnormalities, the doctor typically performs a physical examination of the mouth and throat.
The doctor might suggest additional exams like these if he suspects oral cancer:
Biopsy: To screen for cancer cells, a tiny piece of tissue from the afflicted region is taken and examined under a microscope. The notion that a biopsy causes cancer to spread is fairly common. This is completely untrue; the majority of the time, it is the delay in receiving treatment that leads to the spread, which is then blamed to the biopsy.
Endoscopy: To check for any anomalies, a little tube with a camera at the end is introduced into the mouth or throat.
Imaging studies, such as CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans, may be used to determine if cancer has spread to other organ systems.
Dr. Mandeep Singh Malhotra offered advice on what to do after receiving an oral cancer diagnosis: "If someone is diagnosed with oral cancer, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and scared. Yet, it's crucial to keep in mind that early identification and treatment might provide superior results.
These are some actions one might take after learning they have oral cancer:
Follow the recommended course of therapy: Depending on the kind and location of the cancer, the doctor will suggest a course of treatment. This can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these therapies. It is crucial to adhere to the doctor's advised treatment regimen.
The most effective form of therapy for mouth cancer is surgery. Just surgery is necessary in the early stages, and surgery is followed by radiation or chemotherapy in the locally advanced stages. Modern surgery is far less morbid because to technological advancements like robots and improved reconstruction. Early on, it is as easy as taking out a stone.
Get assistance Ask for assistance from friends and family by talking to them. One may also join a cancer support group, which can help them manage stress.
uphold proper oral hygiene: Dry mouth, painful mouths, and other dental issues might result with oral cancer therapy. It's crucial to practice proper oral hygiene and schedule routine dental appointments.
Change your lifestyle for the better: Both smoking and binge drinking raise the risk of mouth cancer. Reduce your chances of cancer recurrence by quitting smoking and drinking.
Follow-up appointments: When the course of treatment is complete, a doctor may arrange follow-up appointments to track the patient's progress and look for any indications of a recurrence.
Although oral cancer is a frequent malignancy in India, early identification is essential for effective treatment. It's important to be informed of the early indications of oral cancer and to get medical assistance if any symptoms or signs are present. Oral cancer may be beaten and a healthy life can be led with the correct care and encouragement.