Oral cancer ranks 16th on Global Cancer incidence worldwide. The oral cavity is lined by a mucous membrane that is made up of epithelium consisting of squamous cells. Quite often, abnormal changes occur in these squamous cells- resulting in squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth; which is the most prevalent, almost 90% of all cancers occurring in the oral cavity.
Monthly self-exam can be done by the patients themselves to assess for any of the above-mentioned signs. If any of these persist for longer than a month, you should definitely visit your dentist.
Early lesions are curable but unfortunately, are rarely symptomatic. Early detection by screening is key for preventing the spread and complexity of cancer. Time professional involvement and public awareness together can contribute towards an early detection & better prognosis for oral cancer.
The physician decides on biopsy, chest x rays, and CT scans after assessing the nature and size of the lesion.
Treatment is with surgery, radiation, Chemotherapy along with Radiation therapy. The final course of treatment is decided depending on the stage of cancer, lymph node involvement and spread to the adjacent tissues amongst other factors.