FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1.What is cancer?
Uncontrolled and uncoordinated growth of body cells which invade surrounding normal tissues and might spread to distant organs if not checked in time.
2.Why cancer occurs?
Due to damage to the DNA within cells. When this damage is not repaired, it can result in changes in the properties of the cell. Accumulated DNA damage can eventually lead to cancer.
3.Is it possible to diagnose oral cancer early?
Yes, if patient is aware of signs and symptoms and consults the doctor on time. If diagnosed early patients have better survival than those in advanced stages. Early detection increases the chance for successful treatment and full recovery.
4.Do people with poor health have more chances of developing oral cancer?
It can affect both healthy and unhealthy individuals. Immunocompromised individuals have an increased risk of developing oral cancer. Otherwise it is the result of other factors like tobacco use, alcohol use, ones genetic makeup and poor diet.
5.Will stopping the habit of tobacco and alcohol us improve the condition?
There are certain lesions seen frequently in the mouth of tobacco users. These lesions precede oral cancer. If these lesions are identified on time, then stopping the habit will improve the lesion.
6.Is pain an early sign of oral cancer?
Not always. It is often the late symptom of oral cancer. However, it should not be ignored.
7.Which specialist doctor should I see if I have oral cancer?
You should consult surgical oncologist/oral and maxillofacial surgeon/ENT/general surgeon.
8.Why do people hesitate in consulting doctor if they suspect oral cancer?
The reasons are fear of being diagnosed with cancer, putting a financial burden on the family, being anxious regarding treatment procedures, finding the right doctor and hospital and most important being the social stigma of being tagged as having cancer.
9.How does cancer spread?
Within body it spreads via directly invading neighbouring tissues, entering lymphatic stream or blood stream. It cannot spread from one person to another as it is not infectious.
10.How doctors confirm oral cancer?
Many methods as already discussed in the diagnosis section of the website in detail. It includes of thorough history and examination, diagnostic tests, imaging, lab tests, biopsy and endoscopic examination.
11.Treatment modalities for treating oral cancer?
These include of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy.
12.Side effects of treatment?
Surgery: in case of large lesion removal of affected structure may result in speech defects, difficulty in swallowing and also facial deformities.
Radiation Therapy: results in development of mouth sores, reduced secretion of saliva causing difficulty in swallowing and making patient more prone to teeth decay.
Chemotherapy: Depands on the drug used. Usual side effects are hair loss, ulcers in mouth/stomach, reduced resistence tp infection, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and lack of energy.
13.Can oral cancer be cured?
The best outcome for oral cancer is always an early diagnosis and treatment.
14.How can we protect ourselves from oral cancer?
The risk can be reduced by following awareness regarding healthy lifestyle, warning signs and symptoms, regular health checkups and recommended screening.