Oral Cancer

What to look for…

A whitish or red patch of tissue instead of the normal pink flesh in the oral cavity may signal a potential pre-cancerous condition. If left untreated, the discoloured patch may grow and become painful.

The symptoms of oral cancer may include: -

  • a persistent painful lump inside the mouth area.

  • discomfort while eating, drinking, or swallowing.

  • loose teeth, or toothache or earache that does not respond to conventional treatment.

  • a swollen lymph node in the neck.

Symptoms associated with advanced oral cancer include ear pain or pain in the roof of the mouth, spasms in facial or neck muscles, or persistent bad breath.

Oral cancer refers to all cancers of the oral cavity, the lips, tongue, cheeks, mouth, gums, and oropharynx, or upper part of the throat. Although oral cancer may spread through the head and neck, it seldom spreads further than this.

Oral cancer sometimes evolves from other oral conditions but however it develops, it is most treatable if detected early.

Fortunately, changes in the oral area are often able to be felt.


There is a strong link between the use of alcohol and tobacco and the onset of oral cancer. The disease usually affects tissue that is already broken or irritated by jagged teeth, ill-fitting dentures, or habitual chewing on the inside of the cheek.

Iron deficiency has also been linked to tongue cancer in women.

It is imperative that you go to the dentist regularly for routine examinations.

Traditional Treatments

Small oral cancers respond equally well to either surgery or radiation therapy; advanced cancers are treated with both and sometimes with chemotherapy to relieve symptoms.

For recurrent cancer, radiation therapy is the primary treatment.

Complementary Therapies

For cancer, there is no real alternative to conventional medical care. Other approaches can complement, but not replace, standard treatment.

Nutrition And Diet

High doses of vitamin A may protect against oral cancer. However, this vitamin is toxic in high doses so ask your doctor about the recommended dose for yourself. You can also eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy sources of carotenoids.

Personal Care

During your treatments, you may have difficulty and experience some pain opening your mouth, keeping your mouth moist, and brushing your teeth.

Try drinking iced drinks, and using a soft toothbrush.

A very good mouthwash is aloe juice or cool chamomile tea.

To combat dry mouth and restore natural saliva, rinse your mouth with an acidophilus solution, available at most health food stores.


  • Don't smoke.

  • Drink alcohol only moderately.

  • Wear properly fitting dentures.

  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suffer from any of the symptoms in the above mentioned list.