One of the most common types of oral cancer is Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Around 40 percent of squamous cell growths start from the floor of the mouth or on the tongue, and 40 percent develop on the lower lip, while the rest start on the roof of the mouth or the tonsils. People who smoke or chew tobacco heavily and consume excessive alcohol are prone to developing mouth cancer. Referring to the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the survival rate for oral cancer is 50% for 5-year survival. It will be even higher when this cancer is detected from the earliest stage.
What You Need to Know About Squamous Cell Mouth Cancer
This type of cancer affects the upper skin layers. Being under the sun for too long and too often can increase the risk for Squamous Cell Carcinoma. This is why you should never leave your sunblock at home. People with light skin complexion and light hair colour are also prone to getting squamous cell mouth cancer. You should consult your doctor or healthcare professionals immediately if you are having signs of mouth cancer. Early cancer recognition makes a big difference in the treatment outcomes.
How to Identify Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
Squamous Cell Carcinoma has an abnormal surface appearance. It looks like fish scales when checked with a microscope. To the naked eye, it appears as discolourations or ulcers and lumps in some part of the mouth, including the lips. When the cancers occur in the lining of the mouth, you will most likely see some white or red patches on your gums or tongue.
For people who smoke, they might see a brownish area on the lip. One important sign you need to be aware of is when you have an open sore that never heals. These types of ulcers grow deeper into tissues underneath and bleed sometimes. It may grow to be white or red and it could be smooth on the skin surface or formed into a lump. This lump will be hard and immovable, different from the benign type of lumps that could be moved freely.
Is it Painful?
Yes, in the later stages, squamous cell mouth cancer could be very painful. Especially when the surrounding nerves start to get affected, you will feel discomfort and pain in the mouth and tongue. The swollen tongue may cause a speech problem and pain in the jaw will make eating and drinking difficult. This will result in loss of appetite and, eventually, weight loss. As the cancer cells grow, the pain will grow as well and become more unbearable. Sometimes you might have a sore throat that doesn’t heal and lasts for several weeks. You may also feel some pain on other parts of the body.
Squamous cell mouth cancer will eventually ruin the normal functions of the mouth because of the sores and swelling. Patients sometimes feel there is a lump in the throat and some will complain that they can not feel their tongue or have problems moving their tongue. When the cancer cells have metastasized and the disease has reached the later stage, swallowing becomes more challenging and patients may have breathing problems due to a blocked airway.
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