Oral Cancer

Causes

The role of alcohol and tobacco including chewing tobacco in causing oral cancer cannot be overemphasized. People who use both substances regularly are 35 times more likely to get oral cancer than people who use neither. The dis ease usually affects tissue that is already irritated by jagged teeth, ill-fitting dentures, or habitual chewing on the inside of the cheek. Iron deficiency has been linked to tongue cancer in women, while excessive exposure to sunlight causes some types of lip cancer. People treated for oral cancer who continue to smoke and drink are very likely to develop the disease again.

Diagnostic and Test Procedures

Routine examination of the mouth by you, your dentist, or your doctor will improve the chance of detecting oral cancer early. In the event of a suspicious abnormality, a doctor will do a biopsy by taking a small tissue sample from your mouth, or fluid from swollen lymph nodes in your neck, to examine under a microscope. X-rays or other imaging tests may be needed to identify a primary tumor that is not readily apparent or to establish the extent of spread in an existing cancer.

Treatment

Conventional Medicine

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. Laser surgery or cryosurgery freezing cells with liquid nitrogen can kill small tumours without affecting mouth function or the patient's looks. If significant amounts of tissue or bone are removed, reconstructive surgery may be needed.

In such cases, patients, must adjust to their new appearance and relearn basic chewing, swallowing, and speaking skills. Since postoperative radiation and chemotherapy typically suppress normal saliva production and may injure healthy mouth tissue, most patients must take extra measures to deter gum and tooth decay during and after treatment.

Complementary Therapies

For cancer, there is no acceptable 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 onset and recurrence of oral cancer. Vitamin A is toxic in high doses, so take supplements only under a doctor's supervision. You can also eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy sources of carotenoids - dietary precursors of vitamin A- and vitamin E, which also may be protective.

At-Home Care

During radiation therapy, you may have difficulty opening your mouth, keeping your mouth moist with saliva, and brushing your teeth. Try gentle stretching exercises, drinking iced beverages, rinsing frequently, and using a soft tooth-brush.

For a gentle, effective mouthwash, try aloe (Aloe barbadensis) juice or cool chamomile (Matricaria recutita) tea. To combat dry mouth and restore natural saliva, rinse your mouth with an acidophilus solution, available at most health food stores. Swish the solution in your mouth, then swallow it, several times a day.

Prevention

Don't smoke or chew tobacco. Drink alcohol only moderately. If you wear dentures, be sure they fit properly. Use sunscreen to protect your lips. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily. If you are diagnosed with a potentially precancerous oral condition, have your doctor monitor it carefully.

Source : Alternative Medicine.

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