With the rise of alcoholics and tobacco chewers in the world population, we are at a greater risk of developing oral cancer than ever before. But, most of the people, even the educated do not really know much about the fatal oral cancer. There are warnings issued on cigarette tobacco packs, but they are quite ineffective as most users remain unaware of the gravity of impending risks. Here, we attempt to understand oral cancer.
Causes of Oral Cancer
* Long term use of tobacco and alcohol
* A recently discovered cause is due to exposure to HPV-16 virus (Human Papilloma Virus), the same one that is responsible for cervical cancer in women
* A small percentage of people also suffer from from no apparent cause other than a genetic predisposition
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
* Appearance of patches within the mouth. These patches could be white (leukoplakia), red and white mixed (erythroleukoplakia) or red (erythroplakia). The red patches are often become malignant.
* A non healing sore on the lip or mouth.
* Looseness of teeth
* Bleeding from the mouth
* Sensation of a lump in the neck
* Difficulty while swallowing
* A constant earache
* Lower lip and chin numbness
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
* Heavy Alcohol use
* HPV infection through sexual contact (oral sex)
* Exposure to sun in excess
* Use of Betel nut
If you experience any of the above symptoms or fall into the high risk category, then immediately consult your physician who will first conducts a physical examination and if need be then get a biopsy done to confirm the diagnosis.
Most people thin that it is a rare form of cancer, but in reality every day hundreds of people are diagnosed positively in the United States alone and a person dies every hour due to this fatal disease somewhere in the world. If diagnosed and detected at an earlier stages, the survival rate is as high as 80 to 90% . But unfortunately due to lack of awareness and information, most cases are brought under the microscope after they have reached the later and more fatal stages of with full blown cancerous developments. With an ever rising rate of incidence, it is essential to raise awareness and inform the general public about prevention, risk factors, diagnosis and save lives.