"Oral cancer is preventable and early detection helps in better outcomes."



Oral cancer refers to cancer that develops in any of the parts of the mouth (oral cavity). Oral cancer can occur on the:

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Floor of the mouth (under the tongue)
  • Roof of the mouth (Palate)
  • Inner lining of the cheeks (Buccal mucosa)
  • Gums
  • Gingivobuccal sulcus
  • Alveolus
  • Retromolar trigone

Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world. It accounts for more than 3, 00,000 new cases and 1, 45,000 deaths registered annually. India accounts for one-fourth of all oral cancers worldwide. It is the most common cancer in males in India. It is due to increased use of chewing tobacco.

Most of these patients present in advanced stage, at our center we have special interest and expertise to treat these advanced cancers, with best functional and oncological outcomes.

Alarming Signs

  • An ulcer which does not heal
  • Red / white patch in the mouth
  • Loosening of teeth/ ill-fitting dentures
  • Difficulty in opening mouth
  • Altered speech
  • Bleeding from mouth
  • A lump or swelling in the neck
How can we prevent Oral Cancer?
  • Avoid the use cancer causing agents such as tobacco, areca nut, smoking, alcohol. (Tobacco cessation clinic)
  • Avoid extremely hot and spicy food.
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene. Visit your dentist if you have sharp tooth or an ill-fitting denture that is constantly irritating the mucosa.
  • Avoid multiple sexual partners and practice safe sex. Ask your doctor about HPV vaccine.
  • Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables which is protective against oral cancerous and precancerous lesions. Foods protecting against oral cancer include fish, pulses, and buttermilk. Foods protecting against oral pre-cancer are fibers, tomatoes, and those containing vitamin C, iron, copper, zinc, and other micronutrients. Turmeric contains curcumin which is known to have cancer-protective properties.
  • Visit your doctor immediately if you notice any of the danger signs mentioned above.
  • Do regular self-mouth examination in front of a mirror (especially in high ris population like tobacco users), checking all the parts of the oral cavity, looking for any abnormality.
  • Cancer prevention also includes preventing the conversion of a pre-cancerous lesion into cancer. If you already have a red or white patch in the mouth (pre-cancerous lesions), your doctor may prescribe you medications containing retinoids,Vitamin E, curcumin. (Chemoprevention)

Oral cancer is preventable and early detection helps in better outcomes.

Risk factors

Oral cancer occurs due to activation of Oncogenes (genes that causes cancer) and inactivation of tumor suppressor genes (genes that prevent cancer) as a result of mutations in the DNA. The following are the risk factors.

Smokeless tobacco

Smokeless tobacco, Areca nut and betel quid are especially prevalent in the India. Processed betel quid with areca nut has now become widely available. These may contain tobacco (Gutka) or may not contain tobacco (Pan Masala). According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2009, 25.9% of adults in India use smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco has 28 known carcinogens (cancer causing agents), which include tobacco‐specific nitrosamines (most harmful), N‐nitosamino acids, benzopyrenes, volatile N‐nitrosamines, nickel, cadmium, and arsenic.

Tobacco smoking

Cigarettes are the most common form of smoked tobacco around the world. In our country, use of bidi is very common.


Alcohol is an important risk factor for oral cancer, as it increases the absorption of tobacco related carcinogens.

Human papilloma virus (HPV)

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is the name of a family of viruses that affect the skin and moist membranes that line your body, such as those in your cervix, anus, mouth and throat.

Infection with some types of HPV can cause abnormal tissue growth and other changes to the cells, which can lead to the development of cancer.

Poor oral hygiene and sharp teeth

There is evidence that poor oral hygiene, such as having tooth decay, gum disease, not brushing your teeth regularly, sharp teeth, having ill-fitted dentures (false teeth) can increase your risk of oral cancer.

Diet and nutritional factors

20% of cancers are related to dietary factors and poor nutrition.

Genetic predisposition

Some individuals are more prone to develop oral cancer due to their genetic makeup. mutation in genes coding for detoxifying enzymes, glutathione S‐transferase (GST), and UDP‐glucuronyl transferase 1A7 (UGT1A7) are associated with an increased risk of oral cancer.


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