Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, is a type of cancer in which malignant cells start developing inside the tissues lining the mouth. This type of cancer can be cured if it is diagnosed and treated on time. The risk factors and causes of oral cancer are-

Smoking and drinking alcohol-

Smoking any form of tobacco – cigarettes, pipes or cigars – and excessive alcohol consumption are the major risk factors for mouth cancer. Smokers are at a higher than average risk of getting oral cancer, Mouth cancer also occurs in people who have never drunk or smoked, but this is uncommon.

Diet-

An improper diet may increase the risk of mouth cancer due to a lack of zinc or other vitamins and minerals. A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables seems to reduce the risk of developing cancer of the mouth. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is known to decrease the risk of getting mouth cancer.

Low immunity-

People who are having a reduced immunity due to HIV or AIDS are at a greater risk of developing mouth cancer. Taking medicines for suppressing immunity after organ transplantations also increases the risk of mouth cancer.

Previous history of cancer-

People who have suffered from mouth cancer earlier have an increased risk of getting it for the second time. Women have a higher risk of getting mouth cancer for the second time. People who have had some other types of cancer also have an increased risk of oral cancer.

The common symptoms of mouth cancer are:-

Ongoing pain

or discomfort inside the mouth- This is one of the commonest symptoms of mouth cancer.

Mouth ulcers-

Mouth ulcers which are not healing easily are also a common symptom of mouth cancer. 80% people with mouth cancer have this symptom (80%) have a mouth ulcer that does not heal.

Difficulty in swallowing-

Pain or a burning sensation while chewing and swallowing food is a symptom of mouth cancer. The patient may even feel that the food is sticking in his throat after swallowing.

Speech problems-

Mouth cancer can affect the voice. The voice may become quieter or husky.

A lump in the neck-

This may be caused by an enlarged lymph node because of the cancer.

Weight loss-

It is a common symptom of many cancers. Extreme weight loss may be a sign of advanced cancer.