a malignant neoplasm on the lip or in the mouth that occurs at an average age of 60, with a frequency eight times higher in men than in women. Predisposing factors are alcoholism; heavy use of tobacco; poor oral hygiene; ill-fitting dentures; syphilis; Plummer-Vinson syndrome; betel nut chewing; and, in lip cancer, pipe smoking and overexposure to sun and wind. Premalignant leukoplakia or erythroplasia or a painless nonhealing ulcer may be the first sign of oral cancer; localized pain usually occurs later, but lymph nodes may be involved early in the course. Diagnostic measures include digital examination, biopsy, exfoliative cytology, x-ray film of the mandible, and chest films to detect metastatic lung lesions. Almost all oral tumors are epidermoid carcinomas. Adenocarcinomas occur occasionally, whereas sarcomas and metastatic lesions from other sites are rare. Small primary lesions may be treated by excision or irradiation, and more extensive oral tumors may be treated by surgery, with removal of involved lymph nodes and preoperative or postoperative radiotherapy. Among chemotherapeutic agents administered are cisplatin, methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil, bleomycin, and Adriamycin. Postoperative nursing care involves maintenance of airway patency, relieving pain, promoting adequate nutrition, and health teaching regarding follow-up care and psychosocial adjustment if body image has been affected.
or·al can·cer (ōrăl kansĕr)
Cancer affecting lips, tongue, floor of the mouth, palate, gingiva, alveolar mucosa, buccal mucosa, and oropharynx.
Patient discussion about oral cancer
Q. What is Mouth cancer? My grandfather has been diagnosed with mouth cancer. What is it? Is it dangerous?
A. Cancer of the mouth is dangerous as are all cancers. The earlier this cancer is detected, the better the survival rates are. If the cancer is caught in the first stage the survival rates can go up to 90% of patients surviving five years and most of these will be cured.
Q. What are the symptoms of mouth cancer? I have an ulcer in my mouth that won't go away, could it be cancer?
A. Have you had this ulcer for a long time? over 3 weeks?
If so, consult your GP however don't be alarmed as it isn't necessarily cancer, though it's always better to check it out and not neglect it.
Q. What is radiotherapy? My Grandfather had a surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on his cheek. He now needs to undergo radiotherapy. What is this? what are its side effects?
A. Generally, radiotherapy causes tiredness and sore, red skin in the area being treated. This is a bit like sunburn. Radiotherapy to the neck can damage the thyroid gland. Other side effects include: a sore throat- due to mouth ulcers, pain on swallowing, More discussions about oral cancer
a dry mouth- due to damage caused to the salivary glands (which are in charge of making the saliva), taste changes, a hoarse voice and effect on the sense of smell.