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Frequently Asked Questions

+ How do I prevent oral cancer ?
Stopping all the habits of tobacco consumption. Stopping means complete stop to the habit. Reducing the consumption of tobacco does not reduce your risk of cancer. But stopping certainly reduces the risk.
+ Is Tobacco the only cause of Oral Cancer ?
Tobacco is the major cause of oral cancer but certainly not the only cause. Their are other causes like poor oral hygiene, chronic trauma from sharp tooth or an ill fitting dentures. Their are other agents like some viruses which are thought to cause or expedite the effect of tobacco in causing oral cancer.
+ Why is that not all people consuming tobacco have oral cancer ?
Their are many factors like genetic make of the person, his diet and many unknown factors that increases or decreases the susceptibility of person of having oral cancer. But one thing is certain that tobacco consumption increases your susceptibility by almost 8 times. That means a person consuming tobacco is more prone to have oral cancer or other tobacco related problems.
+ Who is more susceptible to oral cancer ?
Anybody consuming tobacco is susceptible to oral cancer. Differences in genetics have not been identified in relation to risk and survival. That means a Caucasian or a mongoloid, Black race all are equally prone to oral cancer if they consume tobacco.
+ What are the premalignant lesions in the mouth?
There are 3 types of premalignant lesions in the mouth arising out of tobacco habit.
+ I have a precancerous lesion in my mouth, would I get cancer ?
It depends on whether you continue your habit or not. If you stop your habit then your chances of getting oral cancer decreases drastically. But it is always better to get your precancerous lesion checked by a Dentist. He will suggest you the best thing for you and may be he will take a biopsy sample of the lesion for histo-pathological check up. Or he may apply some specific Dyes to the lesion so that check its neoplastic potential.
+ How is the diagnosis established ?
Diagnosis is established by many ways like applying dyes like Toluidine blue which may give false positive results in inflammatory lesion but never false negative, using X rays and scans to see the extension of the lesion and the bony involvement and the most confirmatory test is biopsy of the lesion and its histo-pathological examination.
+ What is the treatment available ?
Treatment is surgery, and in advanced cases surgery followed by radiation therapy is done. But even that is not always successful as 70% of the cases after treatment leads to relapse and the result is death. The treatment is successful only if the lesion is diagnosed early, but sadly many times, it is ignored and the patient reports when the lesion has spread so much that the treatment is impossible or even if done the long term prognosis is poor.
+ What is the approximate cost ?
Cost involved is approximately Rs 350,000/- . The cost may vary because of many things like the extent of the lesion, any metastasis and many other factors.
+ I Occasionally chew tobacco/smoke, and keep tobacco only for very short time. Am I susceptible for cancer ?
Tobacco has many chemicals which can cause cancer and lower intake doesn't mean less susceptibility. If a person is genetically more predisposed then even little consumption can trigger malignancy.
+ My friend has been told that he has oral cancer, but he does not believe it. what to do?
Cancer is very well treated with fewer complication in early stages. So if a doctor has said that your friend has cancer than don't neglect it. If you don't believe get it checked from an authority. Remember time is an essence here. Even if their is slight delay the prognosis rapidly goes from good to bad to worse.
+ My dentist has recommended the biopsy of the premalignant lesion. What should I do?
Biopsy is the only confirmatory test of whether you have oral cancer or not. If your Dentist has recommended a biopsy he has given you the right advise. Go ahead and do it at once without any delay.
+ I have oral cancer and I am taking ayurvedic medicine. Will that help?
I am not an authority on ayurvedic medicine. But it has been generally noted that ayurvedic medicines don't work once you have oral cancer and you have to undergo surgery. So don't wait, get the surgery done at once. May be if the lesion has not progressed you will have a excellent prognosis.
+ My Friend had cancer after tooth extraction. Was the doctor negligent?
No! You can never have oral cancer with any dental procedure performed by your Dentist. The predominant sign of alveolar and gingival carcinoma is mobile tooth/teeth, and only after extraction when the socket doesn't heal and their is some growth, you find out that the tooth/teeth were mobile because of cancer. This is a case of misdiagnosis and not wrong treatment. This type of diagnosis can be missed even by the best of Dentist. Usually such cases give a history of tobacco consumption.
+ Does leucoplakia patch disappear after stoppage of tobacco habit?
Leucoplakia will progress to oral cancer in about four percent of cases, but will usually disappear on its own if tobacco use stops. Speckled leucoplakia has a cancer potential of at least 25%, in some studies as high as 41%.
+ In OSMF after how many days the problem of eating spicy food and difficulty in opening the mouth disappear after stopping of Gutka habit?
In oral Submucous fibrosis it might takes some months for the problem of eating spicy food disappears after complete stoppage of tobacco in any form. The problem of difficulty of opening of mouth might never go, as it is an irreversible process. A 10-year malignant transformation rate of 8% has been determined in India, where tobacco chewers routinely mix betel leaf, areca nuts, and/or slaked (shell) lime with their tobacco, and eating of Gutka.
+ Is there any treatment for opening of mouth in OSMF?
For burning mouth syndrome there is no treatment. You can apply anesthetics gels before having your food. For trismus, or difficulty in opening of mouth, many treatments are done like injecting some medicines into the lesion and performing surgery, but are seldom successful. Strictly avoid Gutka or tobacco in any form. The cause of the stiffening of mouth is areca nut or supari, and the cause of oral cancer is tobacco. Oral cancer erupts from the mucosa or skin inside the mouth, and stiffening of mouth results from the formation of collagen fibers in the connective tissue. The changes in the mucosa are reversible by stopping of tobacco habit, if it has not progressed to cancer, but the changes in the connective tissue is irreversible.
+ What are the problems after oral cancer surgery?
A.Impaired speech
B.Impaired Eating
C.Facial disfigurement
+ What are the problems of radiation therapy?
A.Dry mouth.
B.Loss of taste.
C.Sore mouth and gums.
Dry mouth is the most common problem of radiation therapy. It can be tackled by use of artificial saliva, or drinking of lot of water, and sucking on ice chips. Get yourself checked regularly by your dentist to prevent cavities, because that is a major problem because of dry mouth.
+ I am feeling depressed after quitting tobacco, what should I do?
Try yoga, if it helps good, if not, visit a psychiatrist. Be involved in some philanthropy, and donate the money you save by quitting the tobacco habit to some needy kid for education, or an NGO. A needy does not mean a beggar. Remember the urge to have tobacco is only transient, and if you can get over those few minutes, you have done it. Drink lot of water and keep yourself involved in some gainful activity.
+ I want to quit this tobacco habit, what should I do?
Congratulations, finally you have made up your mind and this is the most important thing. To read more on tobacco deaddiction.