I have never smoked or eaten tobacco/pan/pan masala/supari- How can I get mouth cancer?
This was a question put to me by a middle aged lady who was just diagnosed and operated for tongue / mouth cancer.
She had ulcer on tongue for 6 months, it was painful and increasing in size, but she did not see a doctor earlier as she like many believed that she can’t get mouth cancer as she is not a tobacco user. She thought it’s a normal ulcer which will disappear in sometime. But by the time she reached out to her doctor, her cancer had advanced and she required both surgery and radiation treatment. She is now fine.
We are seeing increasing number of men and women without any history of tobacco / pan/ pan masala / supari consumption come to us with mouth cancers (both tongue and cheek).
Primary reasons for MOUTH CANCER without any history of TOBACCO are
- Sharp teeth causing constant trauma and irritation in tongue / cheek.
- Dentures causing constant trauma and irritation in mouth.
- Infection by some viruses like HPV can also sometimes causes cancer.
- Unknown causes.
What do I do to prevent mouth cancer?
- Avoid tobacco / pan / pan masala / supari.
- If there is any irritation by sharp teeth/denture – get it corrected- sharp teeth can be grinded to reduce it’s sharpness or extracted. Denture can also be corrected/re moulded/replaced.
- Maintain oral hygiene.
How can I diagnose mouth cancer at starting stage?
1. Be aware of symptoms of mouth cancers and reach out to your doctors if
- Any non-healing persistent mouth ulcer/sore/swelling for more than 2-3 weeks.
- Unexplained falling/loosening of teeth
- Non healing sockets and gums after tooth extraction
- Difficulty in opening mouth and reducing mouth opening
- Persistent and growing red/white patches in mouth
- Difficulty in chewing/gulping food
- Neck swelling
2. Check/examine mouth yourself or by any doctor periodically.
Stay aware & safe.
For further cancer awareness.