Cancer of the gums is a dangerous disease that develops in the mouth. Neoplasm without adequate therapy is fatal. At an early stage of tumor development, signs of gum cancer are indistinguishable from the symptoms of other diseases of the soft tissues of the mouth. At the risk of a malignant neoplasm are men over 50 years old.
Like other cancers, gum cancer appears for unknown reasons. Researchers identify several factors that can trigger the development of the tumor process:
- non-compliance with the rules of hygiene,
- insufficient mouth treatment,
- bad habits (alcohol, smoking),
- poor nutrition,
- mechanical damage to the mucous membrane (tooth extraction, prosthetics),
- herpes or papillomas in the mouth.
Researchers have established the relationship between cancer and other inflammatory processes in the oral cavity. Possible causes of malignant tumors include cancer diseases affecting the internal organs.
Under the influence of provoking factors, cell degeneration occurs. More often the malignant is localized near the mandible near the alveolar process (in the cheek area). Uncontrolled division of cancer cells leads to the defeat of the entire oral cavity.
The main danger of this type of tumor is that at an early stage of development, the tumor looks like a flux, in connection with which the dentist performs inadequate treatment. As a result, the tumor process begins to move to neighboring tissues. Also, due to improper therapy, the appearance of metastases in regional lymph nodes is noted.
Stages of tumor development
Gum cancer develops over four stages. At the first stage, microscopic cracks appear in the problem area and bleeding appears. During this period, the cancer manifests itself in the form of a small seal, which is well palpated. White spots appear in the affected area. Sometimes patients with early gum cancer are diagnosed with pain syndrome.
The second stage is characterized by the formation of a large tumor. The color of the affected gums changes to purple-red. A detailed examination of the oral cavity marks the growth of gingival cancer in the jaw bone. At the second stage, tumor growth is not accompanied by characteristic symptoms, which complicates diagnosis.
Starting from the third stage of development, the spread of metastases to regional lymph nodes is noted. The tumor at this stage reaches 3 cm in diameter.
For the fourth stage is characterized by the presence of distant metastases. At this stage, the state of the oral cavity can not be improved. Lymphatic cancer, which is actively developing after the damage of local lymph nodes, penetrates the liver, lungs and other vital organs.
Photo number 1 - the tumor has just begun to form (easily confused with the fistula), photo number 2 - the cancer goes into a more advanced stage
The nature of the symptoms of gum cancer changes as the tumor progresses. The following clinical phenomena allow to suspect the presence of cancer:
- Increased body temperature. Symptom occurs at the initial stage of the development of the tumor process. Body temperature rises to 38 degrees and worries constantly.
- Weight loss. If the weight in a short period of time decreases by more than 10% for no apparent reason, it is necessary to diagnose the disease that caused the change.
- General weakness. In cancer of the gums, the body’s resistance to the environment is reduced. Therefore, patients experience fatigue after minor physical exertion.
- Increased local lymph nodes. This symptom indicates the presence of an inflammatory process.
These symptoms are not characteristic of gum cancer alone. However, it is recommended to pay attention to changes in the body that occur without a reason.
The initial stage of cancer development is characterized by bleeding gums. This phenomenon begins to disturb in the period when there is no compaction in soft tissues. Bleeding is observed with little pressure on the problem area and is difficult to stop. As the tumor process progresses, the intensity of the symptom increases. Further development of anemia is possible.
The first signs of cancer resemble symptoms characteristic of diseases of the oral cavity. This includes swelling of the gingival tissue, which is explained by the growth of the neoplasm.
At the initial stage of the tumor process, the patient is worried about toothache. The symptom is permanent or occurs when chewing or yawning. Pain syndrome is poorly stopped by analgesics and eventually spreads to other areas.
An important diagnostic sign of cancer is redness of the gums in the problem area. The hyperemia of soft tissues is explained by a violation of the structure of local cells, which is caused by the development of a malignant tumor. Also, the mutation that caused the process of malignancy, provokes the appearance of expressions on the gums. Defects differ in the correct form and pronounced contour.
The advanced stage of gum cancer development is characterized by the appearance of a large neoplasm. Because of the pressure that the tumor has on the nerve endings, the patient has intense facial pain. The symptom increases with every movement of the jaw. This leads to the fact that the patient, seeking to alleviate the pain, refuses to eat and talk.
The development of gingival cancer suppresses the function of the salivary glands, which causes permanent dry mouth. A similar symptom occurs after chemotherapy.
From the second stage of development of the tumor process, cancer cells infect the throat, provoking an inflammatory process of a chronic nature. Pain syndrome and other symptoms that occur during this period are not stopped by medication.
Detection of gum cancer is complicated by the fact that the tumor process causes symptoms characteristic of other diseases. An accurate diagnosis is able to put an oncologist. New growth at the initial and late stages of development is detected by:
- x-ray jaw,
- fluorescence analysis of the mucous membrane,
- radioisotope analysis,
- blood test for tumor markers,
An important diagnostic measure is a biopsy of the problem area. Material taken from a tumor is subjected to histological examination, which indicates the degree of malignancy of the tumor.
If necessary, the doctor prescribes ultrasound of the abdominal cavity and other areas, which allows to determine the presence of distant metastases.
Therapy is selected taking into account the type of neoplasm, the individual characteristics of the patient and the nature of the development of the tumor process. Treatment of gum cancer is recommended to supplement the rejection of bad habits and nutrition correction.
Regardless of the stage of tumor development, doctors prescribe a surgical operation. The procedure removes the affected and nearby tissues. If necessary, local lymph nodes are excised during surgery.
If surgery is contraindicated, a course of chemotherapy is prescribed. The procedure involves prolonged use of drugs that have a detrimental effect on cancer cells. During chemotherapy, the patient has serious disorders in the work of the internal organs. Therefore, treatment is complemented by the prevention of nausea and other phenomena arising in the course of therapy.
In the early stages of tumor development, radiation exposure is also applied. This procedure is used in 85% of cases of gum cancer incidence. As part of radiation therapy, a point effect on the problem area is carried out.
Treatment of advanced stage
In advanced cases, combined treatment is applied, which is carried out in several stages. Radiation therapy is first used. This method stops the spread of cancer cells. Subsequently, the surgeon excised the affected tissue and, if the tumor metastasized, the lymph nodes. If necessary, surgery is performed on the jaw bones.
After treatment, a course of chemotherapy is prescribed, by means of which distant metastases are destroyed.
If cancer of the gums is detected at the initial stage of development, then after therapy, a 5-year survival rate is observed in 80% of patients. Later, this figure drops to 40%. In advanced cases, 15% of patients survive.
Gum cancer carries a serious threat to the life and health of the patient. The development of a tumor is characterized by the appearance of symptoms characteristic of other diseases. During the treatment of neoplasm in the mouth, surgery, radiation exposure and chemotherapy are applied.
Stages of the oncological process
Like any oncological process, gum cancer proceeds in stages. Knowledge of their characteristics will allow time to suspect and make the correct diagnosis.
- Stage of precancer. The stage is called “cancer in place”, as there is no germination in the tissue yet. When a process is detected at this stage, the prognosis is favorable. The tumor can be removed without further treatment. The difficulty is that this stage has no clinical manifestations, so it can only be diagnosed by chance during a routine examination.
- The first stage. This is the initial stage of invasive cancer. The tumor invades the underlying tissues. The size of the tumor to 2 centimeters. Damage to the lymph nodes and other organs is absent. At this stage, bleeding gums, you can find a suspicious sore or whitish area on the gums.
- Second stage It is characterized by the spread of the oncological process into the tissues. The center has dimensions from 2 to 4 centimeters. Regional lymph nodes are not yet affected by the disease. Characterized by the appearance of constant pain in the gums. Anyone can detect this stage if he does not ignore the first symptoms of the tumor. The probability of complete recovery is high with timely treatment for medical care.
- The third stage. At this stage, the tumor grows over 4 centimeters. The lesion of the regional lymph nodes (cervical and submaxillary) is specific. They increase in size, lose mobility, become painful. The skin over the lymph nodes is swollen and hyperemic (red). Severe general and local symptoms appear. Skip the dangerous process at this stage is almost impossible. Chances for a complete cure are much lower.
- Fourth stage. At this stage, other parts of the oral cavity are involved in the process. The tumor from the lower jaw moves to the lip, bones, tongue, palate. Distant metastases in the lungs, liver, brain are detected. The whole body is affected by the disease. There are signs of intoxication, a pronounced pain symptom. Mortality at the last stage is high. The body is depleted of malignant disease, vital organs are affected.
Symptoms of the disease
The symptoms of the disease depend on the stage of the oncological process. The development of the clinical picture occurs gradually. In the initial stages, the tumor is masked as other diseases, which makes it difficult to diagnose early. Only in the later stages of the disease, when the chances for a cure are extremely small, do specific cancer symptoms appear. All clinical manifestations of gum cancer can be divided into two groups.
- Increased contact bleeding. At any touch, the mucous is injured and bleeds. Sometimes the bleeding is difficult to stop and it acquires impressive volumes. This is due to a change in the structure of the tumor tissue and chronic inflammation in the oral cavity. Later bleeding becomes permanent. This stage is considered to be chronic gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, but without effect.
- Edema. In the early stages of the disease, edema is localized only in the area of the tumor, to the touch - soft. It later spreads to adjacent tissues. There is a feeling of discomfort associated with an increase in the area of the gums. Sometimes the edema is accompanied by pain associated with compression of the nerve endings.
- Specific coloring. Tumor cells are arranged randomly. They have a special property to accumulate pigment. As a result, a colored area appears on the gum. It can be whitish, purple or bright red. This is an important diagnostic feature of the cancer process.
- Local pain. This symptom at different stages of the disease manifests itself in different ways. First, the pain is caused by compression of the underlying tissues by the tumor. It is of a limited pulsating nature. Later the bone tissue is involved in the process, and the pain becomes unbearable and more diffuse.
- Disruption of the chewing process. In the early stages of the cancer process, chewing food causes pain in the affected gingiva. The patient switches to semi-liquid and pureed food. As the process progresses, any movement of the jaw causes a sharp pain. The patient stops eating and talking.
- Compaction. During the formation of a tumor process, a thickening is first formed. It can be painless or completely painless. At this stage, gum cancer looks like gingivitis or stomatitis.
- Ulceration Later compaction ulcerate. At first, the sore is small, reveals clear contours, the correct form, bleeds. Gradually, the ulcer expands, seizing new tissues.
- Violation of the process of yawning. Yawning is accompanied by pain in the auricle and temple on the affected side. This is due to the features of the innervation of the face. The mouth and face are innervated by various branches of the trigeminal nerve. When one of the branches of the trigeminal nerve is irritated, the excitation spreads to the others, causing pain in the innervation zone. In the later stages of the process, the pain worries the patient constantly. Sleep is disturbed, speech is difficult, painkillers do not help.
- Dryness. When a large area of the oral mucosa is involved in the oncological process, the salivary glands are affected. Saliva production is impaired. The patient complains of constant pronounced dryness. The situation worsens after chemotherapy, which further damages the salivary glands.
- The smell of rotten meat. First, it is caused by ulceration of the mucous membrane of the tumor. The patient no longer produces the toilet of the oral cavity due to pain. The oral cavity is actively populated by putrefactive flora, which causes the decomposition of ulcer tissues. In the later stages, an unpleasant smell is associated with the disintegration of the tumor itself and the rotting of the destroyed tissues.
- Lymphadenitis. When involved in the oncological process of the ear and submandibular lymph nodes, they also change. There is a significant increase, merging among themselves into a single conglomerate. They become motionless, painful. Such swollen lymph nodes are visible to the naked eye.
- Inflammation in the oropharynx. With the spread of neoplastic disease adjacent tissues are affected, including the oropharynx. The inflammatory process is a constant progressive nature. A sore throat and cough appear. The pain is similar at the beginning of a lesion with soreness, discomfort. Cough - dry, obsessive. It resembles a picture of pharyngitis and leads the process of diagnosis in the wrong direction.The patient is prescribed antibiotics, local antiseptics, expectorant drugs. But the condition, despite intensive treatment, worsens.
Symptoms of this group occur in the later stages of the process, when the pathology covers large areas of the oral cavity and metastasizes to lymph nodes and other organs.
- Fever. An increase in body temperature to 37-38 degrees Celsius is initially temporary and resembles the symptom of a common ARVI. As the process progresses, the temperature rise becomes constant. Taking antipyretic drugs does not bring relief.
- Weight loss. Unreasonable weight loss in a short time is an unfavorable sign. Such systemic changes occur in the later stages of the tumor process.
- Asthenic syndrome. Its manifestations: weakness, apathy, irritability, drowsiness, fatigue, bad mood. The development of these symptoms is associated with exhaustion of the body in general and the nervous system in particular. This occurs under the influence of toxins of the disintegrating tumor in the latter stages.
The early stages of the oncological process have only local symptoms similar to other diseases. Diagnosis of cancer at this stage is difficult.
Common pronounced symptoms appear in advanced cases when treatment is ineffective and the prognosis is poor. This is the main danger of the malignant process.
During surgery, the affected area and a portion of healthy tissue around it are excised. The volume of surgical treatment depends on the stage. In the initial stages, only the tumor is removed while preserving the organs of the oral cavity. In the later stages, the affected bones and organs (jaw, tongue, palate, lymph nodes, etc.) must be removed. After recovery and recovery, plasty of remote areas is performed.
Chemotherapy consists of taking drugs - cytostatics. These substances destroy cells that quickly divide and grow. But not only cancer cells have such abilities, therefore chemotherapy also inhibits healthy tissues: the hematopoietic system, intestinal mucosa and stomach, liver and several others. Acceptance of cytostatics is accompanied by complications: vomiting, diarrhea, a decrease in the level of hemoglobin, leukocytes, erythrocytes, hair loss.
Chemotherapy is prescribed as a preparatory stage before surgery for extensive tumor lesions. It is aimed at reducing the size of the malignant formation. When it is impossible to remove a cancer lesion, the choice falls on chemotherapy. With distant metastases, they also hope for treatment with cytotoxic drugs.
After surgery, chemotherapy is indicated for some patients to prevent relapse and metastasis.
This method of treatment is reduced to the irradiation of the pathological focus with x-ray gamma rays. In the early stages of the process of such exposure is enough for complete recovery. Radiation therapy is often prescribed as an additional treatment after surgery.
Symptomatic therapy includes taking painkillers, tonic complexes, and nutrition.
In the treatment of oncology in children, preference is given to the surgical method and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is prescribed selectively and carefully, since it has many side effects on the growing body.
When an oncological process is found in a pregnant woman, the tactics depend on the duration of the pregnancy and the stage of the cancer. If necessary, radiation and chemotherapy, and for up to 12 weeks, it is recommended to terminate the pregnancy. This will allow treatment in full.
Prevention of cancer of the gums is aimed at eliminating predisposing factors. Important and prevention of late diagnosis of oncology of the oral cavity. The main directions of prevention are simple and doable by any person:
- Refusal of bad habits (alcohol, smoking, drug addiction).
- Balanced and proper nutrition. Rejection of hot and hot.
- Daily oral hygiene.
- Need to regularly remove plaque. The procedure should be carried out by a competent dentist.
- Timely prosthetics after tooth removal or loss.
- Regular visits to the dentist for a routine examination (once every 6 months).
- Complaint to the specialist and the passage of the prescribed treatment.
These rules will help prevent the oncological process or reveal it at the initial stage.
Causes of gum cancer
The main causes of the disease can be:
- The presence of bad habits, such as smoking or problems with alcoholism. In cigarettes, there are many carcinogens that are bad for the tissues and can cause a malignancy. In addition, the same substances are part of the alcohol, and therefore they are in alcohol.
- Non-compliance with hygiene rules. If you brush your teeth sometimes or irregularly, then you can ensure that the oral cavity can be infected with various bacteria and infections. It is because of these infections and gum cancer begins to develop.
- Wrong and unbalanced nutrition. If the body lacks vitamins and various beneficial elements, then the immune system weakens and as a result, tooth enamel ceases to be strong.
- Piercing on the tongue or lips. After such a procedure, where the puncture remains a wound into which harmful bacteria can get, which multiply at a high rate.
- Caries, inflammations, wounds. Malignant cells spread at high speed in the environment where there is any damage. Very often, dentists may not immediately diagnose gum cancer, but confuse it with caries or simple inflammation.
Symptoms and stages of gum cancer
It is worth noting that gum cancer can not manifest itself for a very long time and is absolutely asymptomatic. And therefore, to identify it is not easy, no matter what stage it is at. Often, patients may complain of a slight swelling or pain. In such situations, the doctor must examine the patient in order to confirm or exclude cancer.
Symptoms of cancer are:
- White color on gums
- Mucous begins to thicken
- Mouth ulcers appear
At the initial stage of the disease, a small tumor can be observed, which in time will surely increase in size. At the same time, bleeding also increases.
Stages of gum cancer
There are 4 degrees of the disease:
- The tumor reaches 1 centimeter both on the mucous layer and on the submucosal gum.
- The tumor reaches two centimeters and a depth of one centimeter, without going beyond the boundaries of the mucosa. On the side where there is a lesion, one metastasis appears
- The tumor begins to reach 3 cm, it can do without metastases, or they are in the lymph node on the side where the gum is affected.
- Metastases begin to spread throughout the oral cavity and even in the internal organs - the liver or lungs, etc.
With an initial degree, you can not notice the disease, but over time the tumor begins to squeeze the nerves and causes pain.
The method of treatment for cancer of the gums can be determined by its degree of damage and is directed to eliminating the primary focus and curing metastases. The main methods include:
At the initial stage, radiation therapy can be used as an effective treatment method.
Surgery is a common treatment for all stages of cancer. If we talk about the area of removal, it is both a small area of the gums, and the removal of lymph nodes.
Chemotherapy is used for an inoperable tumor, in case there are contraindications to chemotherapy. Conduct such treatment with the help of tablets or injections, which are designed to remove tumor cells and stop their development.
Radiotherapy refers to the high-frequency energy of the gamma rays, which are used to remove cancer cells. Appointed by this technique, as a radical and palliative technique that can relieve pain, but not eliminate its focus.
Combined treatment is carried out in stages. If the tumor has moved to the mucous membrane of the cheeks, then this is a direct indication for such therapy. Lymph node metastases are a signal to remove the entire block. But the defeat of the periosteum requires segmental resection.
Irradiation of foci and chemotherapy can prevent and complete chemical surgery. A combined method for treating gum cancer involves treating the very last and most complex stage. Since it is the most effective and gives greater results than the usual surgical intervention.
In addition to these types of treatment, antibacterial effects on the body are often prescribed. This is to ensure that all infections in the oral cavity were destroyed. In addition, drugs are often prescribed that improve the body's immune system and help strengthen its protective function.
Any disease is easier to prevent than to cure, and especially if it concerns diseases of the oral cavity.
Oral cavity and cancer as well. Naturally, it is impossible to fully protect yourself from this disease, but you can reduce the risk of its occurrence by adhering to just a few rules:
- It is necessary to timely treat infectious diseases in the oral cavity and treat caries.
- Treat Chronic Gum Disease
- Adhere to daily oral hygiene
- It is better not to wear a piercing on the tongue or lip, unless there is an absolute need to abandon the braces and other foreign bodies in the mouth.
- Keep from bad habits, especially from smoking
- At least once every 6 months visit the dentist
- There are products rich in calcium
If the disease has already struck the gums, then do not despair, because the correct treatment will help get rid of him. In order for treatment methods to be timely, you must not ignore the visits to the dentist and be sure to carefully monitor your lifestyle. These simple rules will help not only get rid of the disease, but also prevent its occurrence.
Medical expert articles
Oncological diseases in the oral cavity are quite common and their growth has increased recently. External contaminants, food quality and many other reasons provoke a weakening of our antitumor protection in the body. Against the background of weakened defense mechanisms, malfunctions occurring in the cells are increasing and at some point are out of control.
Cells begin to actively divide and multiply, while not performing their functions. Due to the primitive structure and rapid growth, the cancerous tissue feeds on the surrounding healthy tissues in the body. Replacing living tissue and destroying everything in its path, the altered cells grow and spread throughout the body, forming foci of metastases in the internal organs of a person. These metastases, in turn, lead to the destruction of all organs and systems.
Cancer cells can form in any organ or tissue, and if you have a question “Does gum cancer happen?”, The answer is obvious. Cancer of the gums is a cancer that is associated with the rapid growth of mutated cells in the gums. Due to the fact that the organs of the oral cavity have an active blood supply and innervation, tumor cells grow and spread very quickly.
It is worth noting that cancer often affects the skin and mucous membrane. This trend is due to the high potential of cell division. Due to the fact that the cells of the skin and mucous membranes more often divide, respectively, and failures in this process may occur more. The fact is that the above structures of our body perform a protective function and are exposed to a variety of stimuli. Due to the frequent proliferation of cells, epithelial tissues protect our body from external agents.
Thus, under the influence of unfavorable factors, the antitumor protection of our body decreases as a result of which an oncological disease occurs.
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Based on statistical data, gum cancer occurs predominantly in men aged 55 and over. What explains such statistics? Most likely the prevalence of bad habits in males, as well as greater anxiety in the body on the part of women. As you know, women more often than men seek medical help. Such statistics indicate that dentists can diagnose this oncological disease at the initial stages, if patients promptly seek help and regularly come for routine check-ups.
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Causes of gum cancer
First of all, it is worth noting the risk factors for cancer of the gums, as they are a serious prerequisite for the appearance of a tumor. Unfortunately, cancer is not a disease that has one specific cause. This is a multifactorial disease in which banal stress or bad habits can play a crucial role. And in order to protect themselves from oncology, it is necessary to pay attention to all known causes and risk factors. The causes of this disease are still unclear, so the focus will be on risk factors for cancer of the gums.
Risk factors for gum cancer can be divided into general and local. Common ones include burdened heredity, harmful working conditions, stress, hypothermia, poor diet and poor quality of food consumed, bad habits, viral and infectious diseases.
Scientists have long proved a hereditary predisposition to a particular oncological disease. Therefore, you need to be interested in the diseases of the next of kin to pay attention to genetically weakened organs. Harmful working conditions imply labor in mines, factories, the production of chemicals, plastics, where there is a danger of evaporation of substances and their ingress through the respiratory system into the human body. Also harmful are the evaporation of mercury, alcohol and other irritating substances that are found in the work of builders, welders and doctors. No less harmful is the X-ray radiation, which workers are exposed to X-ray rooms.
Stress, as with any disease, plays an active role in oncopathology and is a fertile ground for failure in the body. Chronic stress increases the level of cortisol production, which stimulates vasospasm. As a result, spastic vessels lose their elasticity and, accordingly, their functionality, causing disturbances throughout the body. Hypothermia, like overheating, causes a weakening of the body, a decrease in its resistance to bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Under these conditions, the level of antitumor protection also falls.
The quality and diet directly affects the body's resistance. The lack of essential proteins, microelements and vitamins deprives the body of the building material of immune organs, which later do not cope with their functions and there is immunodeficiency. Due to violations of the quality and diet, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract appear, as a result, the body becomes even weaker.
Harmful habits, namely, smoking, alcoholism and drug addiction all also weaken the body's immunity, making a greater bias to the liver and lungs. These organs cleanse the body and toxic states arise when their work is disrupted. Not to mention the fact that the effect of these substances on the mucous membrane and gum causes congestion in the tissues, impaired trophism and division of epithelial cells.
Viral and infectious diseases are dangerous because they weaken the body's immune system. For example, the herpes virus is in the human body all its life and gradually weakens it, due to regular exacerbations of certain diseases. It inhibits immunity and thus weakens the body’s defense against cancer.
Local risk factors for cancer of the gums include precancerous diseases, chronic diseases of the oral cavity, destroyed teeth, chronic injuries, impaired bite, absence of teeth, failed prostheses.
Pre-cancerous diseases of the oral mucosa are a direct threat to the appearance of gum cancer. These include Bowen's disease, leucoplakia verrucosa, papillomatosis, erosive and ulcerative form of lichen planus and systemic lupus erythematosus. If you identify the above listed diseases, it is necessary to urgently start treating them, as they may soon become malignant and go into gum cancer.
Chronic diseases are often the basis for the formation of tumor cells. With protracted diseases and chronic inflammation, the immune defense is weakened in this area, due to a long process. With the adverse effects of various factors, the cells mutate and begin to divide uncontrollably.
Damaged teeth act as a source of infection and as a traumatic agent. In the first case, such a tooth causes a chronic sluggish inflammatory process with all its consequences. And in the second case, chronic injury to the gums and the surrounding mucous membrane disrupts the processes of cell division, which as a result contributes to the formation of cancer. Broken bite also refers to a chronic traumatic agent that provokes the occurrence of a long-term healing focus. After a while, this area is malignized and a disappointing diagnosis will be made.
Cancer formation mechanisms are under study, therefore there are many theories of its occurrence and developmental mechanisms. The basis of the gum cancer pathogenesis comes down to the fact that with adverse effects and a weakened body, there is a failure in the division of the gum cells. The cells mutate and begin to divide uncontrollably, increasing their population to hundreds of thousands. These cells eat away healthy tissue, vascular and nerve bundles. Even bone and cartilage tissue are affected by cancer, due to the aggressiveness of cancer cells.
Cancer of the gums, or carcinoma, or squamous cell carcinoma of the gums, depending on the type, is subdivided into keratinizing and non-squaring. It proceeds in four stages, which pass one into another rather quickly. At the first stage of gum cancer, a small formation is found on the gum without damaging the lymph nodes and spreading to other organs. The second stage is a medium-sized tumor without damage to the lymph nodes and spread to other organs. In the third stage, the size of the tumor may vary, but there is a lesion of the lymph nodes without spreading to other organs. The fourth stage means the large size of the tumor, affected lymph nodes and metastases in the internal organs.
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Gum Cancer Symptoms
Localization of gum cancer can be completely different, so cancer of the upper and lower gums is quite common. It is very important to know the symptoms of gum cancer and its first manifestations, since the earlier the disease is diagnosed, the more favorable the outcome will be. In gum cancer, the first signs are often bleeding and pain. Such symptoms are also observed in gingivitis and periodontitis, but they will not progress as quickly as in gum cancer. Following the first signs, a dense infiltration of the gum or bleeding granulations from the periodontal pocket will follow. These are the characteristics of the initial stage of gum cancer, in which cancer cells develop inside the gums.
Subsequently, ulceration of the formations occurs and an ulcer forms on the gum. It is painless, has a crater-like shape and a dense base, is surrounded by a mucous membrane of red color. Such an ulcer can grow deep into the gums and damage bone tissue. The spread of cancer cells to the lymph nodes and other organs occurs quite quickly, due to the high activity of the gum's metabolic processes.
Of the common signs of gum cancer, a sharp decrease in body weight, loss of appetite, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, fever and other signs of intoxication can be identified.
Many parents are interested in the question, what does gum cancer look like in children? And indeed, parents need to know the specifics of the course of cancer in children. In children, the physiological color of the gums is bright red, and therefore it is very difficult to notice the redness of the gums in such a picture. In infants with cancer of the gums there is a massive salivation, they refuse to eat, scream, sleep poorly. In the oral cavity on the mucous membrane of the alveolar process there is a cloudy seal, which quickly ulcerates. In middle-aged children, the diagnosis is faster, due to the fact that the child no longer has a language barrier and can complain to the parents about pain and bleeding, explaining his complaints and describing their nature.
Complications and consequences
The consequences and complications of gum cancer are to spread cancer cells throughout the body and cause toxic damage to the body. Metastasis can occur absolutely in any organ, and during its formation the vital resources of this organ will be used until its death.
However, if you still manage to cure gum cancer, radiation and chemotherapy may result. They consist in violation of the blood formation processes, toxic damage of the liver, ulceration of the mucous membranes, trophaneurotic disorders and serious suppression of the immune system. Therefore, after the treatment of gum cancer, it is necessary to undergo a course of rehabilitation of the body to restore and normalize the physiological mechanisms.
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The differential diagnosis of gum cancer is primarily carried out with precancerous diseases, benign tumors, long-term healing ulcers, and also between malignant tumors. Especially, it is worth paying attention to chronic inflammatory processes of the gums, periodontal, as they can be transformed into oncology under unfavorable circumstances.
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There are several reasons for the formation of a tumor on the gum:
- Excessive smoking, mainly in obsessive need to chew tobacco,
- Excessive drinking,
- Addiction to drugs
- Mouth injuries,
- Due to herpes and HPV (human papillomavirus),
- Tooth loss,
- Wearing dentures from poor quality material,
- Lack of vitamins (in particular vitamin A), due to poor nutrition,
- Various inflammatory diseases of the teeth and gums in a very neglected condition (the presence of a hollow in the tooth, stomatitis, gingivitis, etc.),
- A history of cancer (Bowen's disease)
- An accelerating factor for the formation of a tumor is neglect of the hygienic procedures of the oral cavity.
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The location of the neoplasm, its size and developmental stage determine the method for constructing a treatment. To achieve a positive result and increase the effect of the treatment, they combine surgical intervention with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
During surgical resection, the surgeon excises the resulting tumor and the mucosal tissues nearby. Next, with excised tissues, laboratory tests are carried out to determine the degree of malignancy of the neoplasm. In advanced cases, when the tumor affects the entire oral cavity and penetrates into the alveolus under or above the tooth, the question of removing the entire submandibular triangle with further prosthetics is raised.
Important! The formation of a tumor after tooth extraction can often be a medical mistake. Having mistakenly accepted the symptoms from the formation of a tumor for the symptoms of other dental diseases, an inexperienced dentist unwittingly moves towards the further development of cancer. In such cases, a malignant neoplasm by this time was already formed in the roots of the teeth and after their removal came to the surface.
Prognosis and prevention
The main danger of cancer tumors is that they have a tendency to relapse. When they occur, more regular and thorough examinations are necessary to eliminate the risk of distant metastases. In order to prevent the recurrence of gum cancer, the patient must follow all the recommendations of the oncologist. During the first half of the year after recovery, it is mandatory to re-take all examinations and donate blood for tumor markers.
Prediction in malignant tumors of the oral mucosa depends on the stage of the disease.
Are there any cases of death with gum cancer?
The death rate from this type of malignant education is the smallest. According to statistics, the average survival rate for 5-6 years is as follows:
- At stage 1-2 - 80%,
- At stage 3 - 40%,
- At stage 4 - 15%
And with timely and properly carried out treatment, the chance for a long-term remission increases by more than 30%.
Attention! Currently, gum cancer is increasingly seen in young patients. According to experts, this contributes to an unfavorable ecological environment and a disregard for their health.
To prevent gum cancer, you should follow simple rules:
- The diet should consist of foods with a high content of vitamins and minerals,
- Refuse excessive drinking and smoking,
- Do not experiment with the teeth and oral cavity through various mechanical effects (lip and tongue piercing, insertion of precious stones into the tooth cavity, etc.),
- To choose the means to care for the teeth and oral cavity with a high content of extracts of plants, minerals and vitamins,
- Constantly maintain clean and tidy personal hygiene items,
- Exclude a number of products that provoke mucosal irritation,
- Undergo a routine checkup at the dentist every six months,
- Immediately cure all processes of inflammation in the oral cavity.
In the case of the correct timely diagnosis and complete treatment, especially in the earlier stages of tumors, the prognosis for 75% of patients is very favorable.