Mouth Cancer: Symptoms and Risk Factors
Mouth cancer is related to head and neck cancer. Tumors that arise as a result of these cancers are usually either:
- Carcinomas, which are found on the fleshy walls of the mouth.
- Adenocarcinomas, which are located in the glandular cells.
Mouth cancer is very similar to other cancers we can develop. Likewise, it’s very important to understand the symptoms of this cancer.
Fortunately, there are methods other than surgery to fight this cancer. That’s why a timely diagnosis is necessary, so it’s important to identify it early.
The main symptoms of mouth cancer
Cancer in the mouth is very easily noticeable. After all, it can cause a sore in the mouth that doesn’t heal throughout the course of many weeks.
This is the most significant symptom of cancer in the mouth. However, it’s not the only one. You should also look out for the following:
- White spots in your mouth.
- Inexplicable bleeding.
- Difficulty chewing or moving your jaw.
- Your voice becoming rougher or changing significantly.
- Losing sensibility or noticeable pain in any area of the mouth, face, or neck.
- Unexplained ear pain.
You may also be able to see many different symptoms that can appear for other reasons. Despite this, if you notice two or three of these symptoms at the same time, you should immediately seek out a medical professional.
Risk factors for mouth cancer
As with the other types of cancer, mouth cancer develops due to certain circumstances.
However, this disease can appear in people that are not represented under the following categories. Nevertheless, it’s still imperative that you keep an eye on your health. If you fall under one of the following categories, pay special attention:
The exact causes that initiate the growth of cancerous cells in the mouth are unknown. However, it’s known that a huge contributing factor to mouth cancer is the unhealthy habit of smoking.
Cigarette smoke affects this process greatly. After all, it irritates mucous in the mouth cavity and is directly connected to over 60% of all mouth cancer cases.
Chewing tobacco causes irritation in the mouth because it involves direct contact with cells in the mouth.
Read more here: Reasons to Quit Smoking and Strategies for Success
In the case of those who smoke, it’s a great idea to attempt to quit smoking gradually. There are many different methods and practices that may help you stop smoking.
Trust us, it may help you reduce your risks of this disease.
2. Drinking alcohol frequently
Excessive alcohol consumption is another thing that’s largely attributed to this type of cancer. Do you frequently consume alcohol? Do you smoke as well?
In this case, you should definitely be very vigilant of your mouth to ensure that no symptoms arise. Unfortunately, you will have an increased risk of contracting this disease.
The ideal situation would be to stop this habit as soon as possible. We realize that some types of alcohol can provide health benefits, but you should never forget that it’s all about moderation.
3. Having a family background of cancer
Those who have a family history of this type of cancer also are more prone to suffering from this sickness. If this is your case, it’s strongly recommended that you get a medical check-up once a year.
In addition, it’s very important that you inform your dentist of your family’s background of mouth cancer so that they’re aware and attentive to this detail during your normal visits.
In many cases, they can be great allies in a preemptive diagnosis. This is because they can check areas that would be difficult or unknown to you.
Also, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor about this type of cancer and if it’s necessary that you take any test to make sure everything is alright.
4. Sexually transmitted diseases
The majority of people believe that the only sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is truly problematic is HIV/AIDS. It’s true that this condition shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, other STD’s can also cause severe health problems.
One of these is the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus has many types that can cause many different conditions. The problem is that the types that are more serious in nature may cause the development of mouth cancer when transmitted orally.
In addition, it’s also of utmost importance that you visit a gynecologist regularly to check up on your sexual health through routine tests. Usually, if you receive a pap smear every year, that’s enough to cover your bases.
Advice that may help reduce your risk of this disease
For the purpose of reducing your risk of and fighting mouth cancer, it’s key that you:
- Pay attention to the unusual appearance of any of the symptoms that we have covered in this article. Also, look for less known symptoms.
- When you brush your teeth, be attentive to your mouth and the appearance of blood or any sores that haven’t healed within approximately ten to fifteen days.
- Pay attention to persistent throat pain, roughness, or difficulty moving your jaw.
- Maintain a balanced diet.
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
- Consume alcoholic beverages in moderation.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Bagan, J., Sarrion, G., & Jimenez, Y. (2010). Oral cancer: Clinical features. Oral Oncology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oraloncology.2010.03.009
- Kademani, D. (2007). Oral cancer. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings. https://doi.org/10.4065/82.7.878
- Blot, W. J., McLaughlin, J. K., Winn, D. M., Austin, D. F., Greenberg, R. S., Susan, S., … Fraumeni, J. F. (1988). Smoking and Drinking in Relation to Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer. Cancer Research. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10552-007-9026-4
- Warnakulasuriya, S., Sutherland, G., & Scully, C. (2005). Tobacco, oral cancer, and treatment of dependence. Oral Oncology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oraloncology.2004.08.010