Welcome! Today, we begin a new article series and the topic of series is oral cancer. The purpose of this series on oral cancer is to increase your knowledge of the types of this dreaded disease. We want you to be aware of the fact that your mouth is not exempt from the development and metastasis of oral cancers. So, without further ado, let’s get on with this topic.
What is Oral Cancer?
I think the first step for us, before we actually get into the types of cancer, is to acquaint you with the “what is of oral cancer”. Generally speaking, cancer of any type is generally found to begin with a cellular process in the body that allows ordinary cells to multiply uncontrollably. The above mentioned cellular process has the ability to be found anywhere in the human body and the dire truth is that your mouth is not protected from this cellular process. Additionally, any cancer that is born in your mouth, or anywhere in your body for that matter, can find its way to any other parts or organs of the body.
Therefore, oral cancer is a dangerous disorder that obviously has been born in any of the specific tissues of the oral cavity. Oropharyngeal cancer is a specific cancer type that has its origins in the oropharynx, an area that is located in the throat just behind the mouth.
Types of Tumors
There is not just one type of cancer and, accordingly, there also isn’t just one type of tumor growth. The various types of tumor that can originate anywhere in the body and, yes there are many types, essentially can be grouped into three categories:
- Benign or non-cancerous growths – these aren’t invaders of other tissues and nor do they spread to other parts of the body.
- Harmless growths that have the potential to develop into cancer as times goes on at various rates of speed. These are known as pre-cancerous conditions.
- Cancerous tumors that are known to grow into surrounding tissues as well as spread to other parts of the body.
Types of Oral Cancer
Did you know there are several types of cancer which tend to be found in the oral cavity and surrounding tissues? In this article series, we plan to briefly describe each of them in subsequent segments of this article series. Today, our type of cancer deemed appropriate for discussion is squamous cell carcinoma, the most frequently found oral cancer. And, since it is the type of oral cancer with the highest percentage of frequency (90%), we will likely devote more time to its discussion than some of the other types. While the other types of oral cancer may not be as prolific, they can be just as deadly. Rest assured that we will spend sufficient time on each type because we want you to know as much as possible for the protection of you as well as each member of your family.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
As noted above, this cancer type is responsible for over 90 percent of oral cancers found in patients. This cancer type can affect any of the tissues in the mouth as well as in the oropharynx and begins its early stage of life as squamous cells. These cells are described as flat, scale-like cells which are normally found in the lining of the mouth and throat.
In its earliest stage of development, it is called carcinoma in situ. This means that this type of cancer cell is found essentially only in the epithelium, the outer layer, of the lining of the mouth and throat. At this early stage, it differs from the more aggressive and invasive form of squamous cell carcinoma in that it hasn’t yet invaded the deeper layers of the tissues of the oropharynx and oral cavity.
In the next segment we will discuss another type of squamous cell called verrucous carcinoma. In the meantime, let me share that the first line treatment for any oral cancer is the identification of it. Your Periodontist in Long Island can evaluate your oral health and identify any suspicious looking areas which may require treatment sooner rather than later. Contact us to schedule an appointment for treatment today!