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Oral Cancer Diagnosis

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Oral cancer diagnosis is extremely important for curing the cancerous development in the oral cavity effectively and with minimum side-effects. Diagnosis also helps to understand the stage of oral cancer a patient is suffering from and enables him to opt for the most feasible treatment. Diagnosis pattern varies from person to person and depends upon a variety of internal or external factors.

What is oral cancer diagnosis?

Oral cancer is a type of cancerous development in the mouth or other areas adjacent to it. Oral cancer is a kind of head and neck cancer and is one of the major forms of cancers worldwide. It is highly treatable if detected in the early stages but the chances of the elimination of cancer tumors decreases considerably as the disease advances into a later stage.

Oral cancer can be primary or secondary and the pattern of treatment as well as life expectancy is different for both the types. Primary cancer of the mouth is the one in which the cancerous cells originate in the mouth itself and metastasize with the passage of time. Secondary oral cancer is the one in which the malignant cells form polyps in other areas of the body and reach the oral cavity as the tumors begin to metastasize.

In many cases, the cancer of the mouth is not detected in time because of the flaws in examining the early signs. Also, the tumors can be benign or cancerous in nature. Benign tumors are the pre-cancerous lumps and are harmless to the body. They do not metastasize or attack healthy cells and tissues. Such tumors are removable by surgical methods and do not regenerate. Cancerous tumors behave exactly opposite to the benign ones and are highly dangerous for efficient cell-growth. They prevent the vital body tissues from functioning normally and replace the healthy cells by the infected ones. Also, they are not easy to eliminate and the chance of their recurrence is very high.

Diagnosis takes all such variations into consideration and helps to know whether the tumor is cancerous or non-cancerous. It also helps to predict the progress and intensity of cancer tumors and assists in curbing the cell-growth right in the initial stages to prevent further health complications.

Significance of oral cancer diagnosis

Almost 70% of the oral cancer cases are detected when the cancerous growth has already reached an advanced stage. And thus, the survival rate for the disease is extremely low. In the initial stages, the survival rate for mouth cancer is almost 90% which drops to just 20-25% as the disease reaches the later stages. Proper diagnosis of early signs helps in early detection of the disease and maximizes the chances of curing the tumors reliably. The 5-year average survival rate for oral cancer patients is 50-55%.

Diagnosis is very helpful in improving the survival rate of the patients. In oral cancer, the number of patients who were diagnosed for the disease in the advanced stages is a major concern. In the United States of America, one person dies every hour due to oral cancer and the numbers of cases are consistently on rise. Main reason behind such alarming situation is the delay or inconsistency in the diagnosis process.

Diagnosis process is the backbone of apt oral cancer treatment. Diagnosis helps to understand the severity and metastasis of the disease so that the detection pattern can be implemented accordingly.

Aspects of oral cancer diagnosis

Diagnosis of oral cancer depends upon a variety of factors. It may vary with times and also depends upon the health issues of the victim.

Health issues like HPV (Human Papillomavirus), sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and ulcers or infections that do not heal by usual medication are the main obstacles in proper diagnosis of mouth cancer. These disorders assist the cancer cells to metastasize rapidly within a considerably short period. Diagnosis becomes complicated and time-consuming when a person suffers from such disorders and the efficiency of treatment considerably decreases. This maximizes the chances of recurrence and affects the victim's life expectancy.

Cancer stage plays an important role in the diagnosis process. Diagnosis process is usually less intense and quite reliable in the early stages of the disease where the health complications are less severe. Diagnosis process has to be more intense and thorough to examine the lump formation in the later stages of the disease as the tumors are already into the process of metastasis.

Medical history is very important to select an apt diagnosis pattern for oral cancer. People with history of oral or any other types of cancer treatment need to be diagnosed more intensely as compared to those without any such history.

Origin of tumors and the early signs play an important part in the diagnosis process. Diagnosis approach is different for different locations like lips, tongue, gums, neck and throat and depends primarily on the origin of tumors. Also, the diagnosis pattern may vary according to the nature of early signs. Some of the important early signs include soreness or numbness in the tongue or lips, red and white patches on the lips or tongue, skin cracks on the tongue or lips, soreness in the throat or neck and ulcers, infections or injuries that originate in the head and neck areas and do not heal by normal medical treatment. All such factors have to be considered before planning a suitable diagnosis pattern.

Oral cancer diagnosis can be carried out by using some of the contemporary techniques like lip or tongue biopsy, computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Some may also use X-rays to examine the nature and spread of tumors. Tests like brush biopsy, toluidine blue stain, exfoliative cytology and fluorescence staining are also of immense help to diagnose the tumors in time and increase the life expectancy of the victim. Balanced diet and strong immune system is very important to get the maximum output of the diagnosis process.

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