is cancer found in the oral cavity (the mouth area) and the oropharynx
(the throat area at the back of the mouth).
Oral cancer, which can be deadly, is diagnosed in approximately 30,000 Americans
each year, according to the American Cancer Society.
The oral cavity includes the following:
- The lips, teeth, and gums
- The lining inside the lips and cheeks (buccal mucosa)
- The floor of the mouth (under the tongue)
- The top of the mouth (hard palate)
- The small area behind the wisdom teeth
includes the following:
- The back one-third of the tongue
- The soft palate
- The tonsils
- The back of the throat
The Deadly Statistics
Every hour of every day, one American dies of oral cancer.
The mortality rate associated with oral cancer has not improved significantly in the last 40 years.
The death rate in the United States for oral cancer is higher than that of cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, cancer of the brain, liver, testes, kidney, or ovary.
More than 30,000 Americans will receive an oral cancer diagnosis this year. In five years, only 57% will still be alive.
27% of oral cancer victims do not use tobacco or alcohol and have no other lifestyle risk factors.
What causes Oral Cancer?
The main causes of oral cancer include the following:
Tobacco use (80 to 90 percent of oral cancers are caused by smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and dipping snuff) Alcohol use
Other causes of oral cancer may include the following:
– a condition characterized by a whitish patch that develops inside the mouth or throat.
– a condition characterized by a red, raised patch that develops inside the mouth.
Excessive sun exposure, which, like elsewhere on the body, can cause cancer on the lip
What are the symptoms of Oral Cancer?
The following are the most common symptoms for oral cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- A lip or mouth sore that does not heal
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of mouth
- A lump on the lip or in the mouth or throat
- Unusual bleeding, pain, or numbness in the mouth area
- Swelling of the jaw
- Pain in the ear
- Change in voice
- A chronic sore throat
- Feeling as if something is caught in the throat
- Pain or difficulty in swallowing or chewing