Oral Cancer

Essay by taz12336987College, UndergraduateA+, October 2011

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Tiffany Zutten

Dr. Cardle


18 October 2011

Oral Cancer

"Cancer is defined as the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue. Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore that does not go away" (Oral Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and More). Oral cancer includes cancers that occur in the mouth, in the very back of the mouth (the oropharynx), and on the exterior lip of the mouth. Cancers of the tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx are also considered oral cancers. Oral cancer can be referred to as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, or throat cancer. Of all the cancers that fall into the head and neck cancer category, oral cancer is the largest group (The Oral Cancer Foundation - Information, Support, Advocacy, Research... and Hope). Although there are several types of oral cancers, 90% are squamous cell carcinomas.

"Close to 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 36,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years" (Oral Cancer Facts). Oral cancer has a higher death rate than that of cancers that are heard about often, such as cervical cancer, cancer of the testes, laryngeal cancer, skin cancer, or Hodgkin's lymphoma. Oral cancer may not be noticed in its early stages by a patient because it can spread without producing pain or symptoms that might be recognizable to the individual. This makes oral cancer a dangerous disease. If not diagnosed and treated early, it can be a life threatening.

Oral cancer has many symptoms. Usually a person will first see the...