In a new and exciting study, researchers at the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry found oral inflammation stimulates oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) “invasion”. In other words, inflammation of the mouth can worsen oral cancer and the spread of the disease to other parts of the body.
Exciting Finding on Oral Cancer Research: Inflammation of the Mouth Plays Key Role
In this study, researchers examined patients with oral cancer and studied inflammatory markers in their saliva and tissue to better understand the connection.
In a nut shell, the researchers analyzed how TNFα (a cell signaling protein, also known as cytokine, involved in systemic inflammation) causes significant changes to cancer cells, leading to increased “invasion” or progression of cancer and even more inflammatory cells. The research suggested the TNFα protein does in fact promote inflammation and activates inflammatory cells.
OSCC represents most oral cancers. It has poor outcomes like late detection and often spreads to other parts of the body, which seriously affects the survival rate for those diagnosed. The survival rate for this cancer has not improved over the last 30 years, so determining how to increase patient survival and decrease morbidity is desperately needed.
The researchers say oral inflammation in cancer patients creates a ‘pro-tumor’ environment that promotes cancer “invasion” and the spread of cancer. They say TNFα is the key inflammatory mediator in the process. Researchers can now better understand the role inflammation plays in OSCC and move forward with the development new treatments.
What does oral cancer look like?
Oral cancer can affect any part of your mouth or oral cavity, which include: lips, tissue that lines lips and cheeks, teeth front two-thirds of your tongue, the back third of your tongue or base of your tongue, gums, the area of the mouth underneath the tongue or the roof of the mouth. White or red patches in any of those areas could signal a problem, however, not all patches, lumps or bumps are serious. Noncancerous lesions tend to resolve in a few weeks. Only a dental professional can determine whether patches need investigating, so be sure to inquire with your dentist.
What are early symptoms of oral cancer?
Like any type of cancer or disease, symptoms can vary depending on the individual. Common symptoms can include mouth sores or continuous pain that won’t go away. Oral cancer might look like white or red patches on your gums, tonsils, or the lining of your mouth. Other troublesome symptoms can include: swelling in your neck, a lump in your cheek, trouble chewing or swallowing, the feeling that something is caught in your throat, difficulty moving your tongue or jaw, weight loss and bad breath. Factors known to increase your risk of developing oral cancer include tobacco use, consuming large amounts of alcohol and excessive sun exposure.
Prevention is Key: Get Oral Cancer Screening with Dr. Pedvis
At the Mackenzie Dental Centre, Dr. Pedvis uses special equipment to supplement traditional oral exams. This helps to identify abnormal tissue, including cancerous or pre-cancerous abnormalities. Although visual exams are important in diagnosis, the equipment Dr. Pedvis uses is extremely helpful. Your examinations can be far more thorough, and suspicious areas of your mouth can be fully investigated and examined. Dr. Pedvis is committed to a preventive approach with early diagnosis with respect to oral cancer.
Oral cancer is a complex and serious disease that can spread to other parts of the body. Proper regular screening by a dentist is imperative. As in the research study previously discussed, researchers are only beginning to understand the mechanisms of oral cancer and how it spreads. Dr. Pedvis offers thorough screening for oral cancer with the use of specialized equipment to ensure you receive the best disease prevention possible. Contact Dr. Pedvis at the Mackenzie Dental Centre to schedule a screening today!