Oral Cancer • Causes • Risk Factors • Types of Mouth Cancer
Oral / Mouth Cancer
Oral cancer includes all cases of cancerous tissue growth located in the mouth. Oral cancer is a form of cancer with one of the highest death rates of all cancers. The survival rate 5 years after diagnosis is only 50 percent, mainly due to late diagnosis.
Even when not fatal, oral cancer can result in chronic pain, loss of function, facial and oral disfigurement. Mouth cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer, more common than either skin or cervical cancer.
Early detection is critical. If oral cancer is diagnosed and treated in early stages, the recovery rate can be up to 80-90%. Oral or mouth cancer can be located anywhere in the oral cavity (lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, gums, salivary glands, soft palate) with lips and tongue to be the most common. The majority of oral cancer patients are over 40 years old (50% are 68+), with men facing twice the risk than women.
Types of Mouth Cancer
There are two types of oral cancer based on the location of the cancer, oral cavity cancer and oropharyngeal cancer:
The oral cavity cancer is the type of mouth cancer located in:
The oropharyngeal cancer is the type of mouth cancer located in:
Cancer of the mouth can be also categorized based on the type of cells where it is first developed:
Other less common types of mouth cancer are:
What causes Oral Cancer
As all the other cancers, oral cancer results from the mutation of genes which control cell behavior. Cells that are unable to repair the DNA damage may become cancerous cells. Cells with mutated genes may start growing and multiplying at an uncontrolled rate. The uncontrolled growth causes the formation of a tumor.
Risk Factors for Cancer of the Mouth
Research has identified a number of risk factors that may contribute to damages of DNA and the development of oral cancer :
It is important to note that over 25% of all oral cancers occur in people who have not been exposed to any of the above risk factors. Causes of mouth cancer in these cases remains unknown.
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