Mouth Cancer

Mouth Cancer: Overview

Oral cancer includes cancer of the tongue, cheek, or gums.

Contributing Risk Factors

Amongst those who chew tobacco, mouth problems that may seem minor soon become quite serious.  For example, tooth decay may begin from the high sugar contents in some formulations, while enamel surfaces wear down.  Gums may pull away from the teeth where the tobacco is commonly placed and tooth loss may also occur.  When health hazards become extremely serious, white patches and red sores may be found in the mouth on the gum and/or cheek, or where tobacco contact is most prevalent.  These patches, which may become cancerous over time, are called leukoplakia, and are found quite often among chewing tobacco users.

Signs and Symptoms

Some of the symptoms are: sores in mouth that don't go away, red or white patches in mouth, constant bleeding in mouth, numbness in mouth, swelling or lumps in mouth, and – late symptoms – difficulty with swallowing and speech.

Treatment and Prevention

Mouth cancer is very hard to cure, and because it spreads rapidly through the body, it is essential to take precautions immediately.

By quitting tobacco today and receiving treatment for your mouth problems, you may be able to catch the cancer before it is too late.

Regular visits to the dentist can help spot warning signs.

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Mouth Cancer:

Symptoms - Head - Mouth/Oral

Mouth soreness may be a sign or symptom of Mouth Cancer Mouth soreness

Warning signs for oral cancer include unexplained mouth pain.

Counter-indicators

Conditions that suggest Mouth Cancer:

Infections

Leukoplakia may suggest Mouth Cancer Leukoplakia

A small percentage of leukoplakia patches show early signs of cancer, and many cancers of the mouth occur next to these white patches.  Precancerous leukoplakia often includes raised red lesions.

Risk factors for Mouth Cancer:

Addictions

Cigarette Smoke Damage may increase risk of Mouth Cancer Cigarette Smoke Damage

Smoking is a major cause of oral cancer (tongue, cheeks, lips, gums), accounting for 92% of these cancers in men and 61% in women.  The increased risk attributed to smoking is of 27-fold in men and 6-fold in women.  As with laryngeal cancer, alcohol consumption significantly increases the risk of oral cancer.

Alcohol-related Problems may increase risk of Mouth Cancer Alcohol-related Problems

Cancer Research UK warned in August of 2009 that growing numbers of 40-somethings are developing mouth, lip and tongue cancer because they drink too much alcohol.  Diagnoses of oral cancer have gone up by 28% among men in their 40s and 24% among women the same age since the mid-1990s.  The charity says tobacco does not explain the rise, as it takes up to 30 years to cause cancer.  Some 41% of cancers of the mouth could be prevented if no one drank, the World Cancer Research Fund estimated.

Symptoms - Environment

(History of) chewing tobacco use may increase risk of Mouth Cancer (History of) chewing tobacco use

Chewing tobacco is known to cause cancer of the mouth.

Mouth Cancer suggests the following may be present:

Addictions

Mouth Cancer suggests Cigarette Smoke Damage Cigarette Smoke Damage

Smoking is a major cause of oral cancer (tongue, cheeks, lips, gums), accounting for 92% of these cancers in men and 61% in women.  The increased risk attributed to smoking is of 27-fold in men and 6-fold in women.  As with laryngeal cancer, alcohol consumption significantly increases the risk of oral cancer.

Tumors, Malignant

KEY

Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest; may increase risk of
Strong or generally accepted link: often suggests
Strong or generally accepted link:
often suggests
Definite or direct link: suggests
Definite or direct link:
suggests
Definitely or absolutely counter-indicates: strongly contraindicates
Definitely or absolutely counter-indicates:
strongly contraindicates