Everything you need to know about oral cancer

Written by: Dra. Mª Ángeles Serrera Figallo
Edited by: Ester Izquierdo Romagosa

Oral cancer , which is usually of the head and neck, accounts for 1% and 3% of all cancers in the body, being more frequent in men than in women and starting at age 40. This type of cancer is one of the main oncological problems, since it has a high percentage of mortality, complications and side effects in its treatment.

Oral cancer can be extraoral (outside the oral cavity), whose most frequent location is the lip, or intraoral (inside the oral cavity), whose most frequent localization is the tongue, especially in the middle and posterior third. Other sites of intraoral cancer may be the anterior part of the tongue, floor of the mouth, gums, palate, vestibular mucosa, retromolar trigone (area behind the wisdom tooth), and jugal mucosa (inner lining of the cheeks).

Etiology of oral cancer

Oral cancer is often associated with habits such as alcohol and tobacco consumption and poor oral hygiene. Also, recent research claims that human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of between 20% and 25% of oropharyngeal carcinomas.


Symptoms of oral cancer

The lesions are usually asymptomatic for a long time, although they may present an initial pain in the precancerous stage. Later, an exophytic (growing outward) or ulcerous lesion appears, but it is usually painless, so that a considerable part of the patients come to the dentist's office with the highly developed lesion.


Diagnosis of oral cancer

To diagnose the disease, the suspect lesion must be palpated and a thorough examination of the submandibular, jugular and supraclavicular ganglionic chains on both sides, removing the irritant factor. Also, it is important to keep in mind that, after seven to ten days from the scan, if the lesion persists, a biopsy should always be done.


Oral Cancer Treatment

The treatment to choose is the surgical one, sometimes complemented with the radiotherapy, especially if the extirpation has not been completed, and chemotherapy, especially in advanced stages. It is important to note that, at five years of age, if oral cancer is at an early stage, that is, it has been diagnosed early, survival is 90%; however, if the cancer is in an advanced stage, survival is only 20%.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dra. Mª Ángeles Serrera Figallo

Dr. Serrera Figallo has more than 15 years dedicated to dentistry. Expert in oral medicine, cosmetic, endodontics, orthodontics, prosthetics and dentistry, among other treatments, Dr. acts as associate professor at the University of Seville, teaching the following subjects: Oral Surgery Advanced, Dentistry Special Patients and Research in Dentistry Patients special. Also, the doctor has also combined his professional practice with the publication of various texts focused on their specialties.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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