Are you wondering if you can survive oral cancer? Find out what you need to know to increase your chances of beating this serious disease.
Oral cancer is a type of cancer that affects the mouth and the surrounding areas, including the lips, tongue, and throat.
It can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, but with early detection and proper treatment, it is possible to survive and even fully recover from oral cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for people with oral cancer that is detected in the early stages is about 83%. This means that about 8 out of 10 people with early-stage oral cancer will survive for at least 5 years after their diagnosis.
However, the survival rate decreases significantly if cancer has spread to other parts of the body or if it is detected in later stages. For example, the 5-year survival rate for people with advanced oral cancer is about 34%.
In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for oral cancer. So, let’s get started.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Several risk factors may increase a person’s risk of developing oral cancer:
Tobacco use: Smoking and chewing tobacco are the most significant risk factors for oral cancer. The chemicals in tobacco can damage the DNA in cells, which can lead to the development of cancerous cells.
Alcohol consumption: Heavy alcohol consumption has also been linked to an increased risk of oral cancer. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed and the frequency of consumption.
HPV infection: Certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) have been linked to an increased risk of oral cancer, particularly oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the back of the throat).
Age: The risk of oral cancer increases with age, particularly for people over the age of 40.
Sun exposure: Lip cancer is more common in people who spend a lot of time in the sun or have a history of sunburns on their lips.
Family history: People with a family history of cancer, particularly oral cancer, may have an increased risk of developing the disease.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Symptoms of oral cancer may include:
- A sore in the mouth that does not heal within two weeks should be checked by a doctor or dentist.
- Pain or difficulty swallowing may be a sign of a tumor in the throat or esophagus.
- A sore throat that does not go away or gets worse over time may be a symptom of oral cancer.
- A change in the voice or speech, such as hoarseness or difficulty speaking, maybe a sign of oral cancer.
- Lumps or thickened areas in the mouth or neck may be a sign of cancer.
Diagnosis of Oral Cancer
There are several steps involved in the diagnosis of oral cancer:
A doctor or dentist will perform a physical examination of the mouth, looking for any abnormalities or signs of cancer.
This may include a visual inspection of the inside of the mouth and a feeling for any lumps or abnormalities on the lips, gums, tongue, roof, and floor of the mouth.
If any abnormalities are found during the physical examination, a biopsy may be recommended.
A biopsy involves the removal of a small tissue sample for testing. The tissue sample is typically examined under a microscope to determine if cancerous cells are present.
Treatment of Oral Cancer
Treatment options for oral cancer may include:
- Surgery: This involves removing the cancerous tissue, often through a surgical procedure. The specific type of surgery will depend on the location and size of the cancerous growth.
- Radiation therapy: This involves using high-energy beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. It may be used alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.
- Chemotherapy: This involves using medications to kill cancer cells. It may be administered orally or intravenously and may be used alone or in combination with other treatments.
- Targeted therapy: This involves using medications that specifically target cancer cells and block their growth or reproduction. It may be used alone or in combination with other treatments.
Oral cancer is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, but it is treatable if caught early.
By understanding the risk factors and being proactive in seeking treatment and prevention, it is possible to survive oral cancer.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of oral cancer, it is important to see a doctor or dentist right away.