December 8, 2023

Medical Trend

Medical News and Medical Resources

Symptoms of oral cancer and How to prevent oral cancer?

Symptoms of oral cancer and How to prevent oral cancer?

Symptoms of oral cancer and How to prevent oral cancer?  Oral cancer is the most common tumor in the oral and maxillofacial region, and most of its occurrence is related to lifestyle habits, especially diet.

Many people are unfamiliar with oral cancer, but in fact, it is not far from us.

Symptoms of oral cancer and How to prevent oral cancer?



▌Why do I get oral cancer?


Oral cancer (including oropharyngeal cancer) is the most common malignant tumor in the oral and maxillofacial region, among which oral squamous cell carcinoma is the most common, accounting for about 95%. Oral cancer cases in China are actually not uncommon. According to statistics, there are 48,100 new cases of oral cancer in mainland China every year. According to data from the National Health Administration of Taiwan, male oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in Taiwan, with more than 6,000 newly diagnosed oral cancers each year and 2700 deaths.

An important cause of oral cancer is that the oral mucosa undergoes repeated stimulation and becomes cancerous. Smoking, betel nut chewing, drinking, HPV infection, poor oral hygiene, long-term consumption of hot, spicy and other irritating foods, and denture friction are all risk factors.

Chen Sheng’s diagnosis of oral cancer is probably related to his lifestyle. Chewing betel nut has always been popular in Taiwan. It is reported that Chen Sheng is an old smoker and has the habit of chewing betel nuts. He also likes to have a few drinks on weekdays. Smoking, drinking, and chewing betel nuts are common risk factors for oral cancer.


▌Four Misunderstandings of Oral Cancer

ANN GILLENWATER, MD, an oral cancer prevention expert at MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA, receives many patients with oral cancer or precancerous lesions every year. Regarding oral cancer, she shared the four most common misunderstandings.

Misunderstanding 1: Does it hurt or itchy, won’t you get oral cancer?


In most cases, the leukoplakia found in the oral cavity is not oral cancer, but care is taken. One of the most common symptoms of oral cancer is “white spots”, which are white patches in the mouth. Mucosal leukoplakia is a common precancerous lesion of oral cancer, which indicates an increased risk of oral cancer (the probability of cancer is 30%).

Many patients said during the treatment: “I have had white spots on my tongue or cheeks or gums for a while, but it doesn’t hurt or itchy, so it doesn’t matter.”

In fact, if it is only due to accidental bites, bruises, burns, oral ulcers and pain caused by viral infections, it will usually heal on its own within a few weeks. But if it doesn’t hurt much and it doesn’t hurt for a few weeks, be careful. Because oral cancer is usually painless in its early stages and does not heal itself.

Mistunderstanding 2: I don’t smoke, I won’t get oral cancer

More than half of oral cancer patients treated by Dr. GILLENWATER did not smoke any tobacco products. But just as people with lungs can get lung cancer, people with mouths can get oral cancer. Although smoking does significantly increase the risk of oral cancer, it is not the only cause.

Many oral cancer experts have noticed a strange phenomenon-in women without a history of smoking, the incidence of oral cancer seems to have two peaks: tongue cancer is more common in women around 40 years old; Gum cancer is more common among women. The reason behind it is unclear.

Misunderstanding 3: I am still young and will not get oral cancer

Cancer occurs more frequently in elderly patients. People under 40 have a relatively low chance of getting oral cancer, but it is not impossible. Therefore, if you find any oral abnormalities, you should go to the hospital for examination in time, and young people should not take it lightly. However, sometimes even some doctors do not believe that young people in their 20s or 30s will get cancer, so they often misdiagnose oral cancer as inflammation and prescribe antibiotics.

There is another trend that deserves attention. In the United States, HPV-related oral cancer is more common in young men who have no history of smoking. It accounts for about 70% of oropharyngeal cancer and is on the rise. The main risk factor is oral sex. In China, the proportion of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer has also been on the rise in recent years. Some experts said that due to the popularity of HPV vaccines and women’s cervical HPV screening, the number of HPV-related oral cancer patients will soon surpass those with cervical cancer.


Mistunderstanding 4: I have recovered and I don’t need to worry about oral cancer anymore

Once you have oral cancer, you have a higher risk of another cancer.

Therefore, it is important to be vigilant, even if you have recovered. It usually needs to be reviewed every 6 months. If there are changes in the pre-cancerous stage, the frequency of inspections should be increased.


▌What are the common symptoms of oral cancer?

·Unhealed ulcers:

Most ulcers in the oral cavity will heal by itself within a few weeks. If it persists (more than two weeks), please check in time.


If you find an unidentified mass in your mouth, especially when it becomes larger, seek medical attention.

·Red or white patches:

Especially when it bleeds when touched, be extra careful.

·Loose teeth:

Sometimes it may be caused by gum cancer.

· Abnormal speech, chewing or swallowing:

When the tumor is large enough, you may be injured when eating or talking, or you may not be able to move your tongue normally to chew or swallow, or even lose consciousness and numbness on the side of the tongue.

·Get thin:

Usually caused by chewing and swallowing problems.

Pay special attention to changes in symptoms, such as leukoplakia turning into erythema, lesions from small to large, abnormal bleeding, lumps or pain, all need to be checked in time.


▌How to prevent oral cancer?

Pay attention to bad teeth and rotten teeth;

  • No need for inferior dentures;
  • Do not “eat while it is hot” (over 65℃);

Quit smoking and limit alcohol;


  • “Ten oral cancers, nine chewing betel nuts”, please say “no” to betel nuts. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has long listed betel nut as a class of carcinogens. People in betel nut endemic areas such as Hunan, Yunnan, Hainan and Taiwan should pay special attention;
  • Both women and men should be vaccinated against HPV to protect themselves and their partners.

▌How is oral cancer treated?

According to Dr. Randal S. Weber, a neck tumor expert, director of head and neck surgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and professor, oral cancer is generally treated with surgery as the mainstay, and radiotherapy and chemotherapy as a supplementary comprehensive treatment.

The advent of immunotherapy has also brought new hope for many patients. MD Anderson has carried out a clinical trial of chemotherapy combined with immunotherapy (pembrolizumab) for the treatment of oral cancer. Some patients have observed a complete response (CR), which means that the tumor has disappeared and does not require surgery.

Recently, due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, many oral cancer patients in the United States have delayed their treatment time, and oral tumors were already very large at the time of diagnosis. He reminded that early diagnosis and early treatment are the kingly way to deal with oral cancer.

For some difficult and severe oral cancer patients, if the domestic treatment effect is not satisfactory, you may wish to listen to the diagnosis and treatment opinions of American experts. Through good doctors, you can conduct “face-to-face” consultations with tens of thousands of authoritative American experts, including Dr. Randal S. Weber, without going abroad for medical treatment, and enjoy the MDT diagnosis and treatment services of the Chinese and American multidisciplinary teams.


(source:internet, reference only)

Disclaimer of