Oral cancer develops in the squamous cells of the mouth, tongue, and lips. If oral cancer is not treated in time, it could also spread to other facial and neck tissues, leading to disfigurement and pain or even be fatal.

Oral cancer is among the top three types of cancers in India. The incidence of oral cancer is highest in India and some other southeast Asian countries. In India, 20 per 100000 population are affected by oral cancer which accounts for about 30% of all types of cancer. Over 5 people in India die every hour every day because of it. The international agency for research on cancer has predicted that India’s incidence of cancer will increase from 1 million in 2012 to more than 1.7 million in 2035.

One of the biggest risk factors for oral cancer is tobacco use which includes smoking and chewing tobacco.

Apart from tobacco usage, other factors which may lead to oral cancer are, excess alcohol consumption, excessive sun exposure, HPV the HPV-16 virus (human papillomavirus version 16), a relatively new (since 1999) identified etiology, infection or a family history of cancer.

Oral cancer can be diagnosed early in a routine dental checkup. The examiner will be looking for lesions, leukoplakia, and erythroplakia. These issues will be examined; the retromolar trigone, buccal mucosa, gingiva, lingua, and lips for malignancy or otherwise. The following tests are performed: toluidine blue stain, fluorescence staining, and exfoliative cytology. After a physical examination, a brush biopsy may be performed if required. There may be a need for an X-ray or MRI.

Like all other cancers, the affected area can be removed in a surgical procedure by the oral surgeon, a procedure also known as ablation.

Ablation is a surgery to remove the affected area: The affected area along with some healthy tissue will be removed.

Depending on the severity of the lesion, radiation therapy along with chemotherapy may be required.

Targeted therapy is another form of treatment. It can be effective both in the early and advanced stages of cancer. In targeted therapy, the drugs will bind to specific proteins on cancer cells and interfere with their growth.

Our clinic helps in post-cancer ablation rehabilitation.

The surgical treatment of advanced tumors alters the ability to produce clear speech, to retain normal mastication and normal swallowing. Although soft tissue reconstruction can replace volume loss of the tongue, the ability to articulate clear speech, chew normal foods, and swallow all types of foods can be achieved partially.

On the other hand, tumors that involve or are in the vicinity of the lower or upper jaw require resection of some part of the involved or adjacent bone. These result in several deformities including aesthetic deformity, functional deformity, and loss of dentition. Surgical reconstruction of the mandible often achieves the goal of restoration of acceptable external aesthetic appearance.

Endosseous implants can be utilized in a variety of applications including fabrication of prosthetic teeth or as retaining elements for a removable partial prosthesis. The ideal rehabilitation following treatment for advanced cancers include the restoration of the external appearance of the patient, reconstruction of the mandibular arch and facial contour, retaining or restoring oral competency, restoring clarity of speech, restoring stable dentition to achieve the ability to chew all types of foods and preserving or restoring the ability to swallow.

It is generally advisable to avoid all factors that cause Oral Cancer. Smoking and chewing tobacco should be avoided. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. A good healthy diet comprising of fruits and vegetables should be followed. Generally, good dental hygiene should be maintained. Moreover regular, a routine visit to the dentist is imperative for overall dental health.