What to look for
A whitish or red patch
of tissue instead of the normal pink flesh in the oral cavity may signal a potential
pre-cancerous condition. If left untreated, the discoloured patch may grow and become
The symptoms of oral cancer
may include: -
a persistent painful lump
inside the mouth area.
discomfort while eating,
drinking, or swallowing.
loose teeth, or toothache
or earache that does not respond to conventional treatment.
a swollen lymph node in
Symptoms associated with
advanced oral cancer include ear pain or pain in the roof of the mouth, spasms in facial
or neck muscles, or persistent bad breath.
Oral cancer refers to all
cancers of the oral cavity, the lips, tongue, cheeks, mouth, gums, and oropharynx, or
upper part of the throat. Although oral cancer may spread through the head and neck, it
seldom spreads further than this.
Oral cancer sometimes
evolves from other oral conditions but however it develops, it is most treatable if
Fortunately, changes in the
oral area are often able to be felt.
There is a strong link
between the use of alcohol and tobacco and the onset of oral cancer. The disease usually
affects tissue that is already broken or irritated by jagged teeth, ill-fitting dentures,
or habitual chewing on the inside of the cheek.
Iron deficiency has also
been linked to tongue cancer in women.
It is imperative that you
go to the dentist regularly for routine examinations.
Small oral cancers respond
equally well to either surgery or radiation therapy; advanced cancers are treated with
both and sometimes with chemotherapy to relieve symptoms.
For recurrent cancer,
radiation therapy is the primary treatment.
For cancer, there is no
real alternative to conventional medical care. Other approaches can complement, but not
replace, standard treatment.
Nutrition And Diet
High doses of
vitamin A may protect against oral cancer. However,
this vitamin is toxic in high doses so ask your doctor about the recommended dose for
yourself. You can also eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy sources of
During your treatments, you
may have difficulty and experience some pain opening your mouth, keeping your mouth moist,
and brushing your teeth.
Try drinking iced drinks,
and using a soft toothbrush.
A very good mouthwash is
aloe juice or cool chamomile tea.
To combat dry mouth and
restore natural saliva, rinse your mouth with an acidophilus solution, available at most
health food stores.
Drink alcohol only
Wear properly fitting
Eat fresh fruits and
When to seek further