Oral Cancer


Cancer is the second leading cause of death after cardio–vascular disease and cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx accounts for 2.5% of all cases. Between 90 and 95% of all oral cancers arise from the flattened Squamous cells that line the mouth’s soft tissues. When these cells grow out of control, they form a malignant tumor known as a Squamous cell carcinoma. Most of the sores, lumps or red and white patches seen or felt in the mouth or around the lip are not cancerous. They are usually caused by cheek and tongue biting, hypersensitivity, infections or rough teeth and dentures. If these irritations do not heal within a couple of weeks, they should be looked at by a dentist or physician. Early detection of oral cancer followed by immediate treatment can often lead to a complete cure. Although oral and pharyngeal cancer is one of the most preventable of all cancers, the mortality rates are very high. The fact that it is most amenable to early detection emphasizes the importance of the clinician’s knowledge of risk factors and clinical manifestations for oral cancer.