Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer, a malignancy that develops in the mouth, encompasses a wide range of areas, including the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, soft and hard palate, the floor of the mouth, sinuses, and throat. Typically, it affects individuals over the age of 40 and is more commonly diagnosed in men than women. Several factors contribute to the development of oral cancer, such as tobacco use (both smoking and smokeless forms), excessive alcohol consumption, infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), and other related factors.

In India, oral cancer ranks as the second most prevalent type of cancer, and it stands as the sixth leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally. Each year in India, approximately 1 lakh new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed. Unfortunately, the prognosis for many of these cases is grim, with half of the affected individuals succumbing to the disease within one year of detection. This alarming statistic can be attributed to the fact that a significant majority of these cases, around 60-70 percent, are detected in advanced stages, underscoring the urgent need for early detection and intervention to combat this deadly disease.

Types Of Oral Cancer

Identifying the specific type of oral cancer is crucial for determining the most appropriate treatment options and understanding the potential for cancer progression. Here are the primary types of oral cancers:

1. Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This is the most common type of oral cancer and typically originates in the mouth. However, it can also occur in other areas of the body, such as the skin or the inner ear. Squamous cell carcinoma can affect various parts, including the vocal cords.

2. Adenocarcinomas: This is a less common form of oral cancer that develops within the salivary glands. It may manifest with visible symptoms like a lump in the cheek or beneath the tongue, non-healing sores on the lips, or ulcers on the gums.

3. Oral Malignant Melanoma: This rare type of mouth cancer begins in melanocytes, which are responsible for skin pigmentation. It often doesn’t present symptoms until it has grown substantially, potentially spreading to nearby lymph nodes or metastasizing to other parts of the body.

Understanding the specific type of oral cancer is critical for tailoring treatment approaches and assessing the likelihood of cancer progression.

Symptoms Of Oral Cancer

The symptoms of oral cancer can vary from person to person, but it’s important to remember that if any of the below occur, visit your physician immediately.

  • Tongue pain
  • Sore throat
  • Loosened teeth
  • A lump in the neck
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Ear pain or hearing loss
  • Pain or stiffness in the jaw
  • Problems in wearing dentures
  • Speech problems/change in voice
  • Pain or difficulty in swallowing
  • A persisting earache Dramatic weight loss
  • Lip or mouth sore that doesn’t heal with time
  • If a growth or mass is seen anywhere in the mouth
  • Numbness on the lower lip, face, neck, or chin White, red, or red and white-colored patches in or around the mouth or lips

Causes Of Oral Cancer

Preventing oral cancer is not foolproof, but certain factors have been pinpointed as elevating the risk of its onset. The subsequent factors are recognized as influencing the likelihood of developing oral cancer:

Oral Cancer Diagnosis And Tests

Oral cancers are often difficult to detect and diagnose since they don’t always cause signs or symptoms. There are various tests used to detect and diagnose oral cancers, and your dentist can help determine if you should undergo any of these options. The most common tests for oral cancer include:

Stages Of Oral Cancer

Staging is a very important part of the treatment process. It helps in choosing the right treatment option depending on the extent of the spread of cancer. If a biopsy is indicative of cancer, imaging studies are the next step. Imaging studies help in staging and planning treatment accordingly. Various stages of oral cancer include:

Treatment Options For Oral Cancer

The approach to treating oral cancer is contingent on several factors, which encompass the cancer’s stage, its specific location, and the patient’s overall medical condition. In general, a combination of diverse treatment modalities is typically required. These can encompass an array of surgical and non-surgical interventions, which may include:

Follow-Ups After The Treatment

For cancer survivors, maintaining regular follow-up care post-treatment is of paramount importance. These check-ups are essential for the early detection of potential cancer recurrences. During each follow-up appointment, your oncologist will conduct a thorough examination and review your medical and surgical history. The need for imaging will be determined based on factors like tumor stage, symptoms, and your response to treatment. Initially, follow-up visits are scheduled every 2-3 months for the first 2 years, followed by 3-6 monthly check-ups for the subsequent 3 years, and thereafter, an annual schedule.

To further safeguard your health, you can take certain precautions:

1. Refrain from exposure to passive smoking.
2. Abstain from tobacco and alcohol consumption.
3. Schedule regular check-ups, especially if you have a history of smoking or alcohol use.

Best Hospital For Oral Cancer Treatment In India

There are many hospitals across India. But some places provide the best treatment for oral cancer. You should choose a hospital that has a reputation for treating all types of cancer. A well-known cancer hospital will employ the best and most experienced doctors. Some of them are listed below:

  • HCG Manavata, Nashik
  • Fortis BG Road, Bangalore
  • Fortis Hospital, Vadapalani
  • Kokilaben Ambani Hospital
  • Manipal Hospital, Whitefield
  • Fortis C-DOC, Chirag Enclave
  • Fortis La Femme, Greater Kailash
  • Manipal Hospital, Old Airport Road
  • BKL Superspeciality Hospital, New Delhi
  • Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla Road


It ranks as the fourth most prevalent cause of cancer among women, but in certain regions of our country, it stands as one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in women.


The indicators of oral cancer encompass:

1. A persistent ulcer that lingers for over three weeks.
2. The presence of a growth or rough area within the mouth.
3. The appearance of white or red patches.
4. Unexplained loss of teeth.
5. Altered speech.
6. Difficulty in eating.
7. Pain at the back of the throat that extends to the ear.
8. Swelling in the neck.

Performing a self-oral examination, even on a monthly basis, can aid in the early identification of abnormalities in the mouth and neck. Frequently encountered signs of issues involve the presence of lumps, loose teeth, and sockets, as well as the appearance of white or red patches in the mouth’s lining. This underscores the importance of closely observing any changes in your mouth whenever you inspect yourself in front of a mirror.
Yes, oral cancer is treatable. However, early detection is important. The earlier the oral cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat.
Smokers and people who drink alcohol regularly are at a higher risk of getting oral cancer. Quitting tobacco and reducing alcohol intake, having a healthier lifestyle, practicing safe and healthy sex habits, reducing your exposure to UV light, and undergoing regular oral cancer screening can help reduce this risk.

The main common type of cancer is squamous cell carcinoma as it covers more than 90 percent of cancers that occur in the oral cavity.


Identifying oral cancer is of paramount importance as it plays a crucial role in extending life and enhancing the likelihood of successful treatment. Detecting oral cancer at an early stage and commencing treatment promptly can substantially reduce the mortality rate associated with this disease.


It is important to know the location of cancer, and its first or second stage before you start treatment. Early diagnosis of oral cancer has a higher chance of survival. The 5-year survival rate for localized oral cancer is approximately 80 percent.

The 5-year survival rate is one of the most important statistics when it comes to cancer diagnosis and treatment. It shows the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer has been diagnosed.

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