Mouth Cancer, more often referred to as Oral Cancer, is an anomalous growth of malignant cells in any part of the mouth, be it tongue surface, inner cheeks surface, palate, gums or lips. Though the origin of the disease remains a mystery, certain modifiable behaviours like tobacco and alcohol consumption may turn out to be the risk factors. The other prominent contributing factors may include lack of oral hygiene, malnutrition, certain chronic infections, exposure to radiation and misfit dentures. Generally, a physician will conduct a series of physical oral exams biopsies and imaging to determine the medical condition and its severity.
Oral cancer is a growing health hazard in India with 40% of all cancers being mouth cancers. The medical condition is not age specific, as young adults and adolescents are addicted to tobacco intake in the form of smoking and chewable substance. Though the oral cancers are more pronounced among males, females are also vulnerable to it. However, the good news is that mouth cancer treatment in India has come of age and is easily accessible. Healthcare institutes specializing in oncology like Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute are taking a multidisciplinary approach to oral cancer treatment for safe and efficient recovery.
Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute in Delhi, India offers a range of treatment modalities, including surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, chemo-radiotherapy and biological therapy. A combination of two or more modalities is also used for better patient outcomes. Typically, surgery is conducted to get rid of the cancer in the mouth or neck and reconstruct the face. Before initiating curative treatment, we address oral health issues to steer clear of post-therapeutic complications. RGCIRC hospital also focus on rehabilitation in the post-treatment scenario to reduce the recurrence.
Symptoms of oral cancer take time to surface. However, if any of the below-mentioned symptoms persist for over two weeks, a visit to the physician is recommended. Remember, early detection will increase chances of complete and safe recovery.
Oral cancer is segregated into four categories based on the size and spread of a malignant tumour.
Stage 1: Herein, the tumour is not biggest than 2 centimetres. Its spread is localized, as it is yet to infiltrate lymph nodes.
Stage 2: The tumour gains size and may grow up to 4 centimetres. As lymph nodes are not infected as yet, the impact is restricted to where it originated.
Stage 3: The stage presents two different scenarios. One, the tumor size goes beyond 4 centimetres and has infected a single lymph node on the side where it originated. Two, the lymph node contains tumor measuring one-inch or less.
Stage 4(A) : The scenarios are diversified in the final stage of oral cancer. The tumor has intruded into nearby tissues but the surrounding lymph nodes are yet to be infected. Lymph nodes on both sides of the neck have developed the tumor.
Stage 4(B) & (C) : The size of the tumor has increased uncontrollably and branched out to one or several lymph nodes on the side where it began.Distant sites are infected with a malignant tumor.
Surgery is the preferred mode of treatment in all the stages except when the tumor has spread to distant organs. Other options include radiation therapy and chemotherapy in late stages.
Due to evolved screening and treatment modalities, the success rate of mouth cancer treatment has gone up significantly. The average one year survival rate is 81%, regardless of the stage at which it is detected. The average survival for 5 years currently stands at 56 percent, while the rate for a decade is 41%.