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What is Oral Cancer

Cancer occuring in the cells and tissues of the oral cavity (which starts at the lips and extends backwards to the fron part of the tonsils) or oropharynx (part of the throat) is mainly called as oral cancer.

Most oral cancers are Squamous cell carcinomas, which arises from the thin, flat surface cells of the throat lining inside the oral cavity and oropharynx.

  • India burdens about a third of oral cancer across the globe.


Signs and symptoms of oral cancer may include

Growth, lump or thickening of the skin or lining of your mouth

Sore that doesn't heal or bleeds

Loose teeth or poorly fitting dentures

Pain in tongue or jaw or ear

Difficult or painful chewing or swallowing

Hoarseness or change in voice

Unexplained weight loss

  • If the above signs/ symptoms persist for more than two weeks, one should consult a doctor.

Risk Factor

Factors that are associated with an increased risk of Oral cancer include:

Tobacco intake via cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco etc

Paan and areca nut are also causal agents

Heavy alcohol consumption

Excessive ultraviolet rays exposure may lead to lip cancer

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection increases the risk of certain types of oral cancer, especially in younger people

People with weakened immunity are more prone to suffer from oral cancers


  • Examination of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as swollen lymph nodes in the neck or anything else that seems unusual.

  • Combined scans give more detailed pictures of areas inside the body than either scan gives by itself.

  • Removal of cells or tissues for viewing under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. A fine-needle biopsy is usually done to remove a sample of tissue using a thin needle.

Stages of Oral cancer
  • 0
    Cancer is presently only in the cells that line the oropharynx
  • 1
    Tumor is 2 cm or smaller and has not spread outside the oropharynx
  • 2
    Tumor is >2 cm, but <= 4cm and has not spread outside the oropharynx
  • 3
    Cancer is larger than 4 cm and has not spread outside the oropharynx


  • A procedure to look at organs and tissues inside the body to check for abnormal areas. An endoscope is inserted through an incision (cut) in the skin or opening in the body, such as the mouth or nose. An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove abnormal tissue or lymph node samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of disease. The nose, throat, back of the tongue, esophagus, stomach, larynx, windpipe, and large airways will be checked. The type of endoscopy is named for the part of the body that is being examined. For example, Pharyngoscopy is an examination of pharynx