Throat Cancer Types Mouth

Mouth cancer, otherwise known as oral cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in any part of the oral cavity or oropharynx. Like esophageal cancers, many oral cancers begin in the flat cells, or squamous cells, that cover the inner mouth and tongue as well as the lips.

When cancer metastasizes or spreads, it travels through the lymphatic system and is carried along by the lymph, a clear watery fluid. This causes the mouth cancer to spread to other types of the body.

Mouth cancer kills approximately 7,000 Americans annually, which means about one person in the United States dies from mouth cancer every hour. However, if found early, people with mouth cancers have a survival rate of about 80 percent to 90 percent.

Mouth Cancer Symptoms

Mouth cancer is difficult to detect, but you should see your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • bad breath
  • chewing difficulties
  • difficult and/or painful jaw movement
  • lump in the neck
  • mouth pain
  • sore or sores in the mouth that do not heal but increase gradually
  • swallowing difficulties
  • teeth pain, even loosening of the teeth
  • thickening of the cheeks
  • tongue numbness or difficulty moving the tongue
  • voice changes.

Mouth Cancer Risk Factors

Though no one knows the exact cause of mouth cancer, there is one thing that researchers everywhere seem to agree upon: the link between tobacco usage and cancer of the mouth. Not only will avoiding tobacco products decrease your risk of lung cancer, but it will also decrease your risk of developing mouth cancer.

Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that smokeless tobacco or chewing tobacco is a healthy alternative to cigarettes. These products are just as dangerous.

Treatment for Mouth Cancer

Treatment for cancer of the mouth is dependent on the type, location and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient’s age and overall health.

There are many options, and your doctor will usually prescribe a mixture of the following:

  • Chemotherapy: This is one of the main technologies to treat mouth cancer, as well as other types of cancer. One reason why it is so effective against oral cancer is due to the drugs’ abilities to pass through the lymphatic system.
  • Radiation Therapy: Ionizing radiation therapy is especially effective, as it uses energy to destroy the cancerous cells. A patient undergoing radiation treatment for mouth or oral cancer often has to wear a porous mesh mask in order to keep his head still during treatment.
  • Surgery: Oftentimes, it is necessary for a doctor to perform surgery on a patient in order to treat mouth cancer. This type of treatment comes in many forms and sometimes requires the removal of entire parts of the mouth or neck area.

Of course, it should be known that none of these treatments are without side effects. If you discover that you have cancer of the mouth, you need to consult with your doctor to determine the type or types of treatments that are best for you.

Resources

Mayo Clinic (2007). Oral and Throat Cancer. Retrieved June 20, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/oral-and-throat-cancer/DS00349/DSECTION=2.

National Cancer Institute (n.d.). What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer. Retrieved June 20, 2007, from the National Cancer Institute Web site: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/oral/page3.

Oral Cancer Foundation (2007). Oral Cancer Diagnosis. Retrieved June 20, 2007, from the Oral Cancer Foundation Web site: http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/.