Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, is the cancer that occurs inside of the mouth including lips, tongue, inner lining of the cheeks, in the roof and floor of the mouth. According to statistics, oral cavity cancer is one of the ten most common cancers in Thailand, accounting for 5-6% of all cancer types.
- Smoking, the risk of oral cancer is about 2-3 times greater among smokers compared to non-smokers
- Drinking alcohol, those who drink excessively are most at risk, 2-3 times higher than people who do not drink alcohol ( those who both smoke and drink alcohol will have the risk of mouth cancer up to 30 times)
- Betel quid chewing, mostly found in elderly
- Excessive sun exposure to your lips
- Mouth ulcers that does not heal
- Dentures that fit improperly.
- A sore that last longer than 2-3 weeks, most people do not realize that mouth ulcer could be a sign of cancer.
- A lump or growth on the lips, in the mouth or on the tongue
- White or red patches on the gums, tongue or inside of the mouth
The mouth is very significant part of the body, if oral cancer is already in the severe stage or the tumor is larger, the surgery will be more complicated and may involve reconstructive surgery by using transplanted grafts of skin, muscle, or bone from other parts of the body so that the patient is capable of talking, eating, and regain its function. Early detection of oral cancer results in a better outcome; with 60-90% 5-year relative survival rates.
Treatment depends on many different factors such as the location and the state of the cancer, the size of the tumor, and the patient’s general heath. A combination of treatments may be necessary for the best possible outcome: surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
1. Limit alcohol drinking, chronic excessive alcohol use can irritate the cells in your mouth and over a prolonged period of time this can cause cancer in this part of the body.
2. Do not smoke and quit chewing betel nuts or other behaviors that can cause chronic mouth sores.
3. Look at your mouth in a mirror regularly. If you notice any abnormalities or changes in your mouth, consult with ENT specialist
4. Have a regular dental check-up.
5. Protect your lips from exposure to direct sunlight, you can use lip balm with UV protection
Otolaryngologist, Head and Neck Surgeon
ENT Center, Phyathai 2 Hospital