Cancer is an excessive growth of cells that damage surrounded tissues. Oral cancer is a type of cancer which can grow in any part of mouth including gums, lips, palate or under the tongue and throat.

Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer are heavy and regular use of tobacco and alcohol. Human papilloma virus (HPV) can also cause oral cancer. High exposure to sunlight on lips can also be a risk factor for oral cancer.

Oral cancer can be dangerous to your life if it is not diagnosed at an early stage. General symptoms of oral cancer are:

• Ulcer or patches in your mouth that do not heal within 3 weeks.
• Numbness in tongue, jaw or any other part of mouth.
• Unusual bleeding in mouth.
• Lump and swelling in mouth.
• Pain while chewing or swallowing.
• Change in voice and weight loss.

If you observe any of these symptoms, then you should visit your dentist. There are good chances of curing oral cancer at the first stage. Your dentist examines you during regular checkup and if some symptoms are diagnosed, then your dentist can refer you for further tests like mouth and throat examination, x-ray, biopsy, endoscopy etc.

Treatment of mouth cancer depends on staging i.e. the stage of cancer and how much it has spread. Main treatment options for oral cancer are surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Your specialist would suggest you best treatment options according your staging of cancer. If detected, one must not use mouthwashes having alcohol in them as it can increase the problem.

Detection and prevention of oral cancer at early stage is very important. For prevention of oral cancer you should brush and floss your teeth daily, avoid excessive use of alcohol, not chew or smoke tobacco, eat a healthy diet, protect yourself from high sunlight exposure and visit your dentist regularly for the checkups.