Understanding Oral Cancer

Understanding Oral Cancer

In the era of selfies, pouting for one is a must.

What’s the most important thing to achieve that, apart from a good phone camera and photography skills?

Your lips.

Now, there are other things also that hold equal importance in our lives. Eating, talking, singing, smiling, frowning also, for that matter. The one organ that helps us execute all these activities is our mouth.

Imagine not being able to smile, talk, or do any of the above. Imagine chewing getting painful. How does it feel when your mouth has no sensation at all? Unthinkable. Right?

That’s what oral cancer is all about.

Understanding oral oncology

Oral oncology is the study of cancers that develop in the tissues of the mouth or the throat. It belongs to a more prominent group of cancers called the head and neck cancers. Most oral cancers usually develop in the squamous cells found inside the mouth, lips and the tongue.

Diagnosing oral cancers

Oral cancers are diagnosed after they spread to the lymph nodes of the neck. Early diagnosis is the key to surviving oral cancers.

Diagnosing an oral cancer is usually starts with a physical examination done by your dentist.

What does the diagnosis involve?

  • Examining/checking for infections on the roof and floor of your mouth.
  • The back of your throat, tongue, and cheeks, and the lymph nodes in your neck.

If your dentist finds a tumour or any suspicious growths, a brush biopsy or a tissue biopsy is performed. A brush biopsy is a noninvasive test which collects cells from a tumour by brushing them onto a slide. A tissue biopsy is done by removing a piece of the tissue usually from the tongue or the insides of your cheeks. This examination is done under a microscope to check if cancerous cells are present.

Besides, your dentist may also perform the following tests:

Types of oral cancers

  • X-rays to check if cancer cells have spread to the jaw, chest, or lungs.
  • CT scan to reveal if there are any malignant tumours in your mouth, throat, neck, lungs, or anywhere in your body.
  • A PET scan can also be one of the options, to determine if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs.
  • An MRI scan for a more accurate image of the head and neck.
  • An endoscopy may be done to examine the nasal passages,  inner throat, windpipe, sinuses, and trachea.

Types of oral cancers

Your dentist is often the first healthcare professional to notice signs of oral cancer. Here are some of the most common types of oral cancers.

Squamous cell carcinoma: More often than not, 90% of oral cancers and cancers of the oropharynx, are squamous cell carcinoma. The throat and mouth are typically lined with squamous cells, which are flat and scale-like. In a squamous cell carcinoma, some of the squamous cells are abnormal or improperly arranged.

Verrucous carcinoma: Verrucous carcinoma is cancer made up of squamous cells. This type of oral cancer gradually develops and spreads to other parts of the body. It also can invade the tissue surrounding the affected site.

Minor salivary gland carcinomas: Minor salivary gland carcinoma is a separate category altogether. This type of oral cancer includes several kinds of cancers that can develop on the minor salivary glands. They affect the entire lining of the mouth and throat.

Lymphomas: Lymph tissues are a part of the immune system. Oral cancers which develop in lymph tissues are called lymphomas.

So these are the basic types of oral cancers which have more variants under them. Knowing about these cancers and spreading the awareness is pretty much a necessity today. It is always the best choice to make – ‘Cultivate Oral Hygiene.’

About Dr. Gowtham Kattamuri

Dr. Gowtham has done his BDS from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in 2006 and  MDS – Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics from Dr. MGR Medical University in 2010. He is a skilled Endodontist with an experience of over 10 years. Dr. Gowtham is specialized in replacement of teeth, Dental Implants, prosthetics for maxillofacial defects such as artificial eye, ear, nose and orbital defects, Smile Makeovers with laminates, Zirconia, veneers metal free ceramics. He also performs general dental procedures such as restorations and extractions. He also is trained as an International Patient Coordinator.


GA Dental Clinics is a standout amongst the all the famous dental hospitals in Hyderabad, owing to the world class infrastructure it has, and the utility of leading edge technology at the clinic. Besides its unique infrastructure and highly qualified specialists, GA Dental believes in delivering services at par with global standards.

Leave a Comment

WhatsApp chat