Mouth cancer also known as oral cancer can be referred to as cancers that affect any part of the oral cavity (parts that make up the mouth). Usually, cancer of the mouth appears as a sore and/or abnormal growth in the mouth doesn’t heal. It may be on the tongue, lips, gum or inside the cheek.

According to a report by NHS.UK, mouth cancer is the 6th most common type of cancer in the world.  Over 2 in 3 cases of mouth cancer develops in adults over the age of 55 and commonly is seen to commonly affect men more than women. Attributable to this are suggested factors and lifestyle behaviors such as men tending to drink more alcohol than women.  

What are the causes of mouth cancer?

Typically, mouth cancer develops when cells in the mouth begin to mutate. This changes the cells and causes them to grow abnormally. Some of the common factors known to cause mouth cancer include:

  1.  Smoking
  2. Alcohol
  3. Infection with Human papillomavirus increases the risk of one developing mouth cancer

Signs and Symptoms of Mouth Cancer

As with other types of cancer, the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer at the early stage could go without notice. This partly explains why it is very important for one to always conduct regular health check-ups. Some of the common signs and symptoms known to develop overtime include:

  1. Mouth and ear pain
  2. Wounds or sores in the mouth or lip that doesn’t heal.
  3. Frequent bleeding in the mouth.
  4. The growth of velvety white, red, or white and reddish patches in the mouth.
  5. Finding it hard to speak, eat, swallow and chew.
  6. Severe sore throat.
  7. Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling and pain in the area of the mouth affected.
  8. Changes in speech and an unexplained loss of teeth.

Prevention

  1. Quit smoking or the use of any tobacco product.
  2. Limit your intake of alcohol.
  3. Eat a balanced diet.
  4. Pay close attention to any abnormal changes you experience in your mouth and see a doctor if you notice any of the symptoms earlier mentioned that persist for too long.
  5. Have the vaccination to protect against HPV.  

Sources:

Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mouth-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20350997

Medical news today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/165331.php

WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/oral-cancer#1

NHS UK: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mouth-cancer/

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