Ulcers of the oral cavity often arise as a result of tissue injury or irritation – for example, when someone accidentally bites or scratches the inside of the cheek. Other causes are wounds from an ulcer or irritating substances, such as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), which revolves around the gums. Non-cancerous ulcers are regularly painful. An ulcer that does not hurt but lasts more than 10 days can be precancerous or cancerous and should be checked by a doctor or dentist.
A person who chews tobacco or sniffs it can develop white peeling on the inside of the chhek. These clumps can develop in verrucous carcinoma.
Sharp bulge or elevated area on gums (gingiva) should not be the cause of an alert. If such bulge is not caused by a periodontal abscess or a tooth filled with pus, this may be a non-cancerous neoplasm induced by irritation. Non-cancerous neoplasm is relatively common and, if necessary, can be easily removed by surgical procedure. In 10% to 40% of people non-cancerous neoplasm is returned, because the cause is not removed, that is the thing that irritates. If a badly fitted denture causes the appearance of non-cancerous neoplasm, it should be properly adjusted or replaced.
Lips – most commonly lower lip – are the object of sun damage (actinic cheilitis), which makes them cracked and red, or blended red and white. A doctor or dentist may make a biopsy to determine if these rough spots on the lips are carcinogenic. Cancer on the outside of the lip is more common in areas where there is more sunshine. Cancer of the lip and other parts of the oral cavity is often firm on the touch and is held firmly to a tissue that lies beneath it (fixed to the base), while most of the non-cancerous lumps (knobs) in these areas are not tied to the substrate, and are movable. Abnormalities of the upper lip are less common than those on the lower lip, but are more likely to be carcinogenic and require medical attention. A person who chews tobacco or sniffs it can develop white peeling on the inside of the lips. These accumulations can develop in verrucous carcinoma.
Tumors of salivary glands can be carcinogenic or non-cancerous. They can occur in any of the three pairs of large salivary glands: a parotid gland (on the face in front of the ear), a submandibular gland (under the jaw), or a sublingual gland (at the bottom of oral cavity in front of the tongue). Tumors can also occur in small salivary glands scattered over most of the part of oral saliva. Early growth of tumors of the salivary glands may or may not be painful. Carcinogenic tumors tend to grow rapidly, and they are firm when touched.
Prevention and treatment
Hiding from the sun reduces the risk of lip cancer. Avoiding excessive use of alcohol and tobacco can help prevent most cases of oral cavity cancer. The smoothening of the rough edges of broken teeth or their restoration is another preventive measure. There is evidence that antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene can additionally contribute to protection, but further research is needed. If the damage of the sun involves a large surface area of the lip, the scraping of the lip, removing the entire outer surface, whether surgical or laser, can prevent cancer progression.
The success of treating cancer of the oral cavity and lips largely depends on how far cancer has advanced. Cancer of the oral cavity rarely spreads to distant places of the body, but it is prone to catch the head and neck. The healing rate is high if the entire cancer and surrounding normal tissue is removed before it has spread to the lymph nodes. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, healing is much less likely. During surgery, the nodes are removed under and behind the jaw and along the neck, as well as cancer in the oral cavity. Surgery for oral cavity cancer can be distorting and psychologically traumatic.
A person with mouth or neck cancer can be directed to radiation therapy and surgery or just radiation. Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) often destroys the salivary glands and leaves people’s mouth dry, which can lead to teeth bleeding and other problems. As the jawbones exposed to radiation do not heal well, problems with teeth should be treated before radiation is applied. Every tooth that appears to be problematic is removed and time to heal is enabled.
To people who perform radiation therapy due to cancer of the oral cavity is important good dental hygiene. Such hygiene includes regular checkups and good home care with daily fluoride use. If a person finally takes out a tooth, a wound in the jaw can heal better with help of oxygen treatment at elevated pressure (hyperbaric chamber).
For oral cavity cancer, chemotherapy has limited success. The main areas of treatment are surgery and radiation (radiotherapy).