Cancer is a dreaded ill-health condition. Oral cancer is the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells that leads to growth of malignant tumors in oral cavity. Oral cancer is the branch of head and neck type cancer. Oral cancer affects lips, tongue, mouth, tonsils, gums, teeth and salivary glands.
Tumors are classified into 2 types:
- Benign tumors
- Malignant tumors
Benign tumors are non cancerous. They grow very slowly and will not spread to other parts. Once removed by surgery, they will not recur.
Malignant tumors are cancerous tumors. They grow rapidly and proliferation of cells to other parts. Even though removed by surgery it will come again.
Types of oral cancer
There are several types of oral cancers:
- Lip cancer
- Tongue cancer
- Salivary gland cancer
1. Lip cancer
Lip cancer is a condition where abnormal growth of cells on the lining of lip happens. It is more common in the male than the female. Lip cancers are of two types: basal and squamous cell carcinoma. It is easily detectable and cured in early stages.
- Exposure of lips to UV radiation along with tobacco usage.
- Regular consumption of alcohol
- Infection with HPV virus
Detected at early stage, it can be treated easily. Mainly lower lip get effected as it is more exposed than upper lip. It can be treated by surgery, Radiation therapy, Cryotherapy. Mohs surgery is used to remove the thin layer of skin tissue that is affected by tumor.
2. Tongue cancer
Tongue cancer is the development of malignant tumor on tongue surface. If the tumor on front surface of tongue then it is comes under oral cancer. If it on base of the tongue, it comes under oropharyngeal cancer.
- Improper fitting of dentures
- Acid reflux from mouth
- Chewing tobacco products
- Exposure to chemicals
- Deficiency of essential nutrients
It can be easily treated by surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy. Targeted drug therapy effectively treat tongue cancer. In this drugs interfere with the growth of tumors.
3. Salivary gland cancer
Cancer which affects salivary glands. Salivary glans produces saliva which keeps mouth moist. This helps to remove bacteria from mouth. Most of the tumors on salivary glands are benign. It is less common.
- Old age people are more affected
- Exposure to chemicals
- Radiation therapy on neck and head
Salivary gland cancer can be treated by fast neutron radiation therapy, photo beam radiation therapy. Radio sensitizers are the drugs that makes tumors to become sensitive to radiation.
Lymphoma is the cancer where proliferation of abnormal cells happens on lymph nodes. Tonsils are also affected as these are made up of lymph tissue. Lymphoma affects immune system. Lymphoma are of two types Hodgkin and Non Hodgkin. Non hodgkin is commonly seen and affects both T-cells and B-cells.
- Immune deficiency-Auto immune diseases
- Nuclear radiation exposure
Immunological therapy with monoclonal anti bodies boosts immune system, stem cell transplantation, surgery are the treatments for lymph node cancer.
These are less common and seen on maxillary gingiva. Detection in early stage saves life.
- Dysfunction of the adrenal gland
- Immune deficiency
Radiation therapy and surgery are helpful to treat this type of carcinoma.