Oral or mouth cancer is a type of head and neck cancer and can be defined as any cancerous tissue growth located in the oral cavity.
The oral cavity includes the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, palate (roof of the mouth), sinuses and pharynx (throat).
Oral cancer can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
-Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
-Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth or neck
-Swelling, lumps, rough spots on the lips or other areas inside the mouth
-The development of white, or red patches in the mouth
– Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
– Soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat.
-Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
-Hoarseness, chronic sore throat or change in voice
-A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
-Unexplained/significant weight loss
Anyone can get oral cancer but the risk is higher if you are male, use tobacco, consume a lot of alcohol, among other conditions.
Physical exam, endoscopy, biopsy, imaging test can be used to diagnose oral cancer while treatments may include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Let us do our part to prevent oral cancer by having regular dental check-ups, not smoking, drinking in moderation and eating a healthy diet filled with fresh vegetables – tomatoes is particularly beneficial along with citrus fruits, olive oil and fish.
Glossary of Terms used
Endoscopy: Examining inside the body using an instrument called an endoscope
Biopsy: A sample of tissue taken from the body to examine closely
Imaging Testing: X-rays, CT scans and MRIs are called imaging tests as they take pictures or images of inside the body.
Radiation: A type of cancer treatment that uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells – radiation therapy most often uses X-rays.
Chemotherapy: Treatment of a disease by use of chemical substance especially cancer.
For more information, we encourage you to visit the Grenada Cancer Society at Knox House on Grand Etang Road, St. George’s or call us on 473-435-9869 or visit our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GrenadaCancerSociety/