Oral cavity or the mouth includes many parts: the lips; the lining inside the lips and the cheeks (buccal mucosa); the teeth, the bottom (floor) of the mouth under the tongue; the bony top of the mouth (hard plate); the gums; and the small area behind the wisdom teeth. The oropharynx includes the back one-third of the tongue, the soft palate, the tonsils, and the back of the throat. Salivary glands throughout the oral cavity produces saliva that keeps the mouth moist and helps in digest foods.
Oral cancer is any cancerous tissue growth located in the mouth. It may begin as a primary lesion that originates in any of the oral tissues, by metastasis (spread of cancer) from a distant site of origin, or by extension from nearby anatomic structure such as nasal cavity or the maxillary sinus. Oral cancers may initiate in any of the tissues of the mouth, and may be vary according to their histological type. The most common oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which originates in the tissues that line the mouth and the lips. Oral or mouth cancer most commonly involves the tissue of the lips or the tongue, but may also occur in the floor of the mouth, cheek lining, gingiva (gums), or palate. Squamous cell carcinoma is malignant and tends to spread rapidly.
Symptoms of the disease include: Patches inside your mouth or on your lips that are white, a mixture of red and white, or red: white patches (leukoplakia) are the most common. White patches sometimes become malignant; mixed red and white patches (erythroleukoplakia) are more likely than white patches to become malignant; red patches (erythroplakia) are brightly colored, smooth areas that often become malignant; a sore on your lip or in your mouth that won’t heal; bleeding in your mouth; loose teeth; difficulty or pain when swallowing; difficulty wearing dentures; a lump in your neck; earache
It is very important to find or diagnose oral cancer as early as possible because treatment works best before the disease has spread. The National cancer Institute (NCI) encourages individuals to take part in the early detection of the disease by doing self-examination monthly. This means looking into the mirror and checking for any symptoms of the disease. Regular dental checkups that includes and examination of the entire mouth are also plays an important role in the detection of oral cancer or precancerous conditions. People should be responsible enough to be active in the early diagnosis and prevention of this disease.
When a person id diagnosed with oral cancer, or any cancer for that matter, they should feel free to ask doctors about their chance of recovery and other important information regarding their condition. Although doctors may not for sure say what will happen, the patient will be guided and advised accordingly to help cope with all the worries and concerns an oral cancer patient can have.