Gum cancer is one of the many cancers of the oral cavity that includes cancer of the lips, cheeks, tongue and palate. Generally, gum cancer affects people over the age of 50, more often men and people who consume alcohol and tobacco, which are responsible for a great number of cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract. Gum cancer may also occur in the absence of such usage, and is especially favored by poor oral hygiene.
Cancer of the gums may be manifested by:
- an injury of the gum, which becomes reddish or whitish;
- a loose tooth;
- a feeling of discomfort in the mouth.
Clinical signs will usually give reason to suspect gum cancer, but usually require a confirmational biopsy of the lesion in question. If the patient is known to be an avid user of tobacco and/or alcohol, signs strongly point to cancer. In this context, a closer examination, panendoscopy, of the upper aerodigestive tract is often performed so as to search for the presence of any other cancerous lesions. If the cancerous nature of the lesion is confirmed, examinations will be made to look for evidence of a migration of cancer cells to other organs.
The treatment of cancer of the gums will be based on the results of the tests performed as part of the staging. It may consist of a surgical treatment to remove the tumor/accompanying nodes, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
It is possible to avoid developing gum cancer by adopting a healthy lifestyle consisting of not using tobacco on the one hand, and limiting alcohol consumption on the other hand. It is also important to make sure to brush your teeth regularly and to see your dentist on a regular basis in order to anticipate any problems with the gums or mouth in general. These few elements can eliminate many inconveniences including the development of cancer of the gums.
Original article published by
. Translated by Jeff