Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer

According to Globocan, there were 1,19,992 new cases of oral cancer and 72,616 deaths reported in India in 2018 alone. Studies have found a definitive link between use of tobacco (smoking) and development of oral cancer.

Types and Subtypes

A specialist of cancer may classify it on the basis of its appearance under the microscope and behaviour of the tumour. Oral cancers can be classified based on parameters such as type of cell (squamous cell carcinoma, papillary carcinoma, verrucous carcinoma etc.), depth of invasion of cancer (<4mm or >4mm), Infiltration into blood vessels or nerve (vascular and perineural infiltration respectively).
These are determined by a pathologist based on the sample from the tumor.

What is Oral Cancer?
Source: Beyondfive.org.au

Staging Of Oral Cancer

If you are diagnosed with oral cancer, your doctor will run more tests to determine the extent (stage) of your cancer. Your cancer's stage is an important input, for a specialist of cancer, in deciding on your treatment. The stage of a cancer describes the size of the cancer and how far it has spread. It may be described as stage 0 to stage IV and takes into account: the size of the cancer, whether the lymph nodes are affected, if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

  • Stage 0: The cancer is only growing in the outermost layer of the oral cavity (also known as carcinoma in situ).
  • Stage I: The tumour is 2 cm or smaller, and no cancer cells are present in nearby structures, lymph nodes or distant sites.
  • Stage II: The tumour is 2 cm to 4 cm across, and no cancer cells are present in nearby structures, lymph nodes or distant organs.
  • Stage III: The tumour can be one of the following: The tumour is larger than 4 cm, and no cancer cells are present in nearby structures, lymph nodes or distant sites OR the tumour is of any size and has spread to one lymph node on the same side but has not grown into nearby structures or spread to distant sites.
  • Stage IV: It is of three subtypes Stage IVA (The tumour is of any size and growing into nearby structures, may or may not be present in the lymph nodes, cancer has not spread to distant sites.) Stage IVB (the tumour is of any size and has invaded deeper tissues and structures including lymph nodes which are greater than 6cm), Stage IVC (the tumour has spread to distant organs in the body).

Sources: Globocan; Cancer Treatment Centres of America; European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO)

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