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Mouth cancer is a malignant tumour growing inside the mouth. It usually grows on the tongue or floor of the mouth but may grow on the gums, lips, jaw, and roof of the mouth. Most often, this cancer occurs in older men who used tobacco and drank alcohol in excess.
Cancer of the floor of the mouth occurs when cells under the tongue become abnormal and grow out of control. This usually starts in very thin, flat cells that line the surface of the mouth (squamous cells). Cancer cells can spread and form a mass of cells called a tumour. The cancer may spread deeper into the floor of the mouth, or it may spread to other areas of the body (metastasize).
When found early, mouth cancer is highly curable with surgery or radiation therapy. Treatment is much less effective if smoking and drinking alcohol continue.
Chances of getting mouth cancer are greater with the use of any kind of tobacco—cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco. Using alcohol with tobacco greatly increases the chances of getting it. Other causes include anything that irritates the inside of the mouth, poor oral care, poorly fitting dentures, and sun exposure (lip cancer).
This condition is more likely to develop in:
Symptoms of this condition may include:
In some cases, this condition causes no symptoms, and it may be found during a regular dental exam.
This condition may be diagnosed based on:
If cancer of the floor of the mouth is confirmed, it will be staged to determine its severity and extent. Staging is an assessment of:
The stages of cancer of the floor of the mouth are as follows:
Cancer may return (recur) after initial treatment (recurrent cancer). Recurrent cancer can occur in the same location or in another part of the body.
Treatment for this condition depends on the stage of the cancer. Treatment may include one or more of the following:
A combination of radiation, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy and surgery may be used for stage III, stage IV, and recurrent cancers.
DOs and DON’Ts in managing mouth cancer:
Follow these instructions at home regarding mouth cancer:
Contact a health care provider if:
Get help right away if:
A personalised cancer screening consultation is a meeting with a qualified consultant medical doctor to explain to you what does cancer screening mean and facilitate your understanding for the genomic and diagnostic tests that are that can help you to achieve your cancer screening and prevention objectives.
Your consultant doctor will aim to answer all your questions regarding the cancer screening programmes and tests that could be beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing.
It is recommended that you book a personalised cancer screening consultation with one of our recognised consultant medical doctors if you have a strong family history of cancer or you have one or more risk factors that may increase your risk of developing a specific type of cancer.
If you are unable to attend to one of our outpatients’ clinics in London for your personalised cancer screening consultation, our consultant medical doctors can arrange to have your personalised cancer screening consultation by secure and encrypted voice conferencing or video conferencing, which can be done from the convenience of your home and using your smartphone.