Floor of mouth cancer is the second most common oral cancer, yet this form of cancer remains rather unknown.
In this article, learn more about the disease, its symptoms and causes with our maxillofacial surgeons.
Floor of mouth cancer symptoms
At first, this oral pathology can be painless and present no symptoms.
Once the disease has reached an advanced stage, the symptoms can include:
- Pain or difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Abnormal bleeding
- Numbness of lips or tongue
- Growths on the throat, mouth or lips
- White or red spots or patches on the edge of the lips, tongue or gums
- Sores that last more than 14 days on the lips or in the mouth
- Hoarseness, a change of voice or a feeling that something is obstructing the throat
Floor of mouth cancer diagnosis
Floor of mouth cancer diagnosis is done with a clinical examination involving a simple and efficient procedure to detect cancerous lesions.
Different tests may be required to confirm the floor of mouth cancer diagnosis:
- Lab tests
- CT scan
Causes of floor of mouth cancer
Floor of mouth cancer risk factors are well known, the main ones being smoking and excessive drinking, and both combined present a major risk.
The incidence of floor of mouth cancer is gradually increasing in people between the ages of 40 and 50, and there is a peak in the 60-69 age group.
Additionally, more and more cases are being reported among adults under the age of 40, who now account for about 4-6% of all reported cases. The increasing use of cannabis may be the cause.
Floor of mouth cancer treatment
Treatments usually include radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy, either combined or separately. The treatment chosen depends on the extent of the floor of mouth cancer.
Radiation is usually used after surgery to control the disease and relieve pain in people with advanced cancer.
On the other hand, chemotherapy is typically used for floor of mouth cancers that spread elsewhere, such as to the lymph nodes in the neck. This treatment is often combined with surgery or radiation.
The earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment will be.
Floor of mouth cancer: beyond diagnosis
Many malignant tumours can appear on the floor of the mouth and it is important to watch for warning signs. If in doubt, consult your dentist or maxillofacial surgeon immediately. After all, your health is priceless!