Know the early signs and symptoms of mouth cancer

Mouth cancer is a type of neck and head cancer that can occur anywhere in the mouth, lips, tongue’s surface, inside of the cheek, gums, floor or roof of the mouth, in the salivary glands, and in the tonsils. The treatment for mouth cancer is the same as other neck and head cancers. Almost 50 thousand people were diagnosed with this cancer in the country in 2016. More than 9 thousand deaths with this cancer were predicted that year. The detection of the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer should be done at the earliest so that one can get treated soon.

Mouth cancer usually affects people in their mid to late 40s. This cancer affects men more than women. It is difficult to identify this cancer based on the symptoms in the early stage as there are often no noticeable and visible signs. However, the common signs and symptoms of mouth cancer include the following.

  • Jaw pain and stiffness in the jaw
  • Mouth ulcers and mouth sores that don’t heal on their own or with normal medication
  • Persistent swelling
  • Thickening or a lump in the lining of the mouth
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Pain in the tongue
  • Hoarse voice
  • Neck pain
  • Loose teeth without any reason
  • Abnormal looking red and white patches in the mouth or throat – white patches are called leukoplakia and red patches are called erythroplakia
  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath
  • Unusual bleeding

Not all of these signs and symptoms indicate that a person has mouth cancer, however, it is best to go to a doctor when one sees more than two of these symptoms. Although the red and white patches can be caused by Thrush, a fungal infection, if there is even one sign and symptom that is unusual or unexplained, it is advised that one get it medically examined for mouth cancer. Any cancer, when diagnosed in its early stage, can be treated and cured.

There is no exact cause of mouth cancer, but there can be multiple factors that may lead to the same. Tobacco (cigars, cigarettes, etc.) increases the risk of developing oral cancer. According to the report by a cancer foundation, 90 percent of people who were diagnosed with mouth/oral cancer consumed tobacco in large quantities. Apart from tobacco, people who are heavy alcohol consumers have higher chances of developing mouth cancer.

Additionally, an unhealthy lifestyle, age, and bad eating habits are some factors that contribute to the risk of developing mouth cancer. A diet that lacks nutrition of fruits and vegetables makes a body weak and hence more prone to illnesses such as cancer.

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