Oral cancer has become one of the leading reasons for increasing mortality rate. Anyone can contract mouth cancer, but people who regularly smoke and drink copious amounts of alcohol and follow a sedentary lifestyle are significantly at a greater risk of developing this type of cancer. Like all cancers, this fatal disease is highly treatable if it is recognized in its initial stages.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a life-threating disease which develops due to the uncontrolled multiplication of malignant cells in mouth, lips, and tongue of the patient. Mouth cancer usually forms a lump in the mouth which makes it tough to swallow food. It can be prevented to a greater extent by eating a diet, rich in vitamins E, A, and C.
Causes and Risk Factors
The Precise cause of oral cancer is still a topic of research. However, medical professionals believe that the following risk factors are responsible for the development of mouth cancer.
- Age Factor – People above the age of 50 are at a higher risk of getting mouth or oral cancer.
- Gender – Men are more likely to get mouth cancer as compared to women.
- Family History of Cancer – Family history of cancer doubles up the chances of occurrence of mouth cancer.
- Misuse of Alcohol – It has been observed that oral cancer usually develops in heavy drinkers. One should cut down the habit of drinking an excessive amount of alcohol to prevent oral cancer.
- Habit of Smoking And Chewing Tobacco – Smoking is considered to be a prime reason for the development of oral cancer. Also, people who chew tobacco and betel nuts are at a higher risk of getting this dreadful cancer.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – HPV virus can also fuel up the occurrence of mouth cancer.
- Excessive Sun Exposure – Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation can lead to lip cancer. Therefore, one must try to avoid staying in sunlight for a prolonged period.
Patients must eat a balanced diet and follow a healthy lifestyle in order to minimize the chances of oral cancer.
Major Signs and Symptoms of Mouth Cancer
Mouth cancer may not show any significant sign in the beginning. However, a painless ulcer in mou the h may lead to oral cancer. The following list depicts some of the major signs of mouth cancer.
- Bleeding sore that does not heal
- Loose and painful teeth
- Lump in mouth
- Thickening of the skin in mouth
- Pain in tongue
- Sore throat
- Severe pain and stiffness in jaw
- Difficulty chewing anything
- Poorly fitting dentures
- White and red colored patches in mouth
- Ear pain
- Dramatic weight loss
Patients experiencing these symptoms from a prolonged period of time must take an appointment with a well-experienced doctor as early as possible.
Diagnosing Oral Cancer
Early detection can help treat oral cancer successfully. Cancer specialists may perform the following steps to precisely diagnose the condition of oral cancer in patients.
- Physical Evaluation – Surgeons may begin to examine the mouth by checking the presence of sores and patches which are the most prominent symptoms of mouth cancer.
- Tissue Sample – If surgeons suspect the condition of oral cancer, they may remove a sample of tissue from patient’s mouth and send it to a laboratory for identifying exact health condition.
- Endoscopy Test – Endoscope is a specialized medical instrument which bears a camera on its one end. Respective surgeons may insert it via nose of the patient to determine the underlying mouth status.
- Imaging Tests – Surgeons may recommend imaging tests like a computerized tomography test (CT scan), x-ray test, and a magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI test) to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment Options for Oral Cancer
The following points elaborate the major treatment options for mouth cancer.
- Surgery for Mouth Cancer – Surgeons may remove the cancerous mouth tumor directly by accessing the affected mouth area. In some complicated instances, they may also remove the lymph nodes in the neck region to ensure the complete removal of cancer-causing tissues. In addition to this, cancer specialists also perform a reconstructive surgical procedure to restore normal functioning of patient’s mouth. A reconstructive facial procedure helps patients to talk clearly, eat, and swallow food properly.
- Radiation Therapy – Radiation therapy is considered to be golden standard for treating early stage of tongue cancer. It involves the use of high-intensity and powerful radiation to destroy the cancer-causing cells in patient’s mouth. However, it may result in certain side-effects such as mouth infection, dry mouth, and loss of appetite.
- Chemotherapy – Oral cancer including mouth, lips, and tongue cancer can be treated efficiently with chemotherapy. It involves the use of potent drugs for destroying cancerous cells in patient’s mouth. Oncologists or cancer specialists may recommend this treatment procedure along with radiation therapy or surgery to provide best beneficial outcomes. Most common side-effects associated with a chemotherapy procedure for treating mouth cancer include significant hair fall, nausea, hearing and balance problems, and various kidney disorders.
Surgeons will decide a suitable treatment plan according to patient’s need and health status.
Recovery Following Surgery for Oral Cancer
Healing time following an oral cancer surgery will vary from patient to patient. One may suffer from various post-surgical complications like breathing problems, difficulty in swallowing and drinking, and also speech problems. Patients may also have to face the issue of facial disfigurement which can be handled with a reconstructive face surgery. Surgeons may recommend speech therapy to help patients speak clearly following mouth cancer treatment. It becomes difficult for a patient to deal with physical as well as emotional trauma following an oral cancer treatment procedure. Therefore, family support is important to help patients heal faster. In addition to this, patients must visit respective surgeons for follow-up care. It will help maintain long-term results.
Complications Associated with Surgery for Oral Cancer
Oral cancer surgery may involve the following major complications. Patients must talk to respective surgeons to defeat these issues.
- Change In Appearance Of Mouth – Patient’s mouth may appear different even after reconstructive surgery.
- Speech – Patients may not be able to speak normally after an oral cancer treatment. However, speech therapists can help minimize speech-related problems.
- Stress And Depression – Patients may feel depressed due to this live changing event. They may not be able to enjo a social life. In such cases, surgeons may advise relaxation techniques and medications to overcome the stressful condition.
- Sexual Life – Most patients complain of decreased sex drive. They may not be able to enjoy sexual life as they used to enjoy earlier after an oral cancer
Managing Life after Mouth Cancer Treatment
Patients should follow the enumerated guidelines to maintain a good health following mouth cancer treatment.
- Exercise – Patients must exercise regularly to cope up with the depression. Daily exercising routine will help patients maintain a sound mind and good condition.
- Relaxation Techniques – Patients should get indulged in activities which they like. They may try listening music or gardening to stay positive. It is important for them to get busy in some mind rejuvenating task or activity to get over stress easily.
- Balanced Diet – A balanced diet is a key to a healthy body. Patients must eat raw fruits and fresh vegetables on a regular basis. They must ask their surgeons regarding the diet which they must follow to stay active and maximize their quality of life.
- Psychologists – Patients may take the help of a counselor or psychologist to deal with emotional concerns. It will definitely help in boosting the self-esteem and confidence.
Advantages of Medical Tourism in India for Oral Cancer Treatment
Indian country is worldwide acknowledged as the best medical tourism destination. Millions of international patients visit this country every year due to the availability of best medical provisions and infrastructure. Oral cancer treatment cost in India is extremely feasible. The majority of Indian hospitals offer a wide range of quality treatments for oral cancer including mouth cancer surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy at most economical prices. IndianMedTrip is a prime medical facilitator catering in Indian country. They make sure that their international guests get finest healthcare facility in a hassle-free manner. They assist overseas guests right from their arrival to India until their departure to the homeland. Healthcare consultants at IndianMedTrip are closely associated with best oncologists and multispecialty hospitals in India which follow international standards. They also provide additional recuperation packages to help patients recover faster. Therefore, International patients seeking a high-quality and cost-effective oral cancer treatment including lip cancer, tongue cancer, and mouth cancer treatment can heavily rely on steadfast services of IndianMedTrip.