UNDERSTANDING ORAL CANCER
As we are all aware there has been a recent increase in tobacco and alcohol consumption in our society especially in the young population. Most of us are not aware of the harmful effects of tobacco and smoking.
Oral cancers mostly present as ulcers or growths in the mouth, over the tongue, gums, the inside of cheek and the throat. Most of oral cancers are related to habitual tobacco chewing. The earliest signs of oral cancer include non healing ulcers in the mouth, loosening of teeth, any lumps or bumps in the gums, bleeding gums, neck swelling and any change in voice or difficulty in swallowing food. If you have any of these problems, you must consult your doctor for a thorough clinical examination of oral cavity and throat.
Diagnosis of oral cancer is confirmed by biopsy, i.e. a small piece of tumor is taken and subjected to pathological examination in the laboratory.
Surgery remains the mainstay of treatment. In most situations the treatment of oral cancer is surgical removal of tumor with a margin of surrounding tissues and removal of lymph glands in the neck. This is followed by reconstruction of the defect in oral cavity using tissues from your body. Nowadays with the development of newer surgical and reconstructive techniques such as microvascular flaps we can achieve good cosmesis and better functional outcomes in terms of swallowing and speech.
Some patients also need some form of radiotherapy to prevent any recurrence of disease.