Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oral Cavity

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oral Cavity: An Overview

Squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity is a type of skin cancer that affects the oral cavity, lips, tongue, and throat. It is the most common type of oral cancer, accounting for over 90% of all cases. It is more common in the elderly, heavy smokers, and people with a long history of alcohol consumption. Risk factors for this type of cancer include sun exposure, radiation exposure, oral trauma, and poor oral hygiene.

People with squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity may experience symptoms such as a sore or lump on the lip or in the mouth that doesn’t go away, tiny white or red patches inside the mouth, bleeding in the mouth, pain when swallowing, and/or changes in the voice. To diagnose the cancer, doctors may use a physical exam, imaging scans such as a CT or MRI, and a biopsy to examine the affected area. Treatment for this type of cancer includes surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies, depending on the stage of the cancer.

Tips for Prevention

To reduce the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, the following steps can be taken:

  • Minimize sun exposure of the lips and face, especially during peak hours.
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • See your dentist regularly for oral checkups.
  • Use protective equipment when exposed to radiation (e.g. X-ray scans).
  • Maintain proper oral hygiene, brushing and flossing regularly.

If you notice any changes in your mouth that do not go away, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.