What is gum cancer?

Gum cancers are a form of oral cancer. Most gum cancers form right on the gum surface and are a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma. They may start out looking like a bump or a sore that does not heal. The sore may be red or white and may look like a thickening of the gum. Teeth near the sore may become loose or dentures may not fit well.

Alcohol and tobacco use are the biggest risk factors for gum cancers and other types of oral cancer. In general, oral cancers are more common in men than in women and typically occur after the age of 40. Each year, about 37,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with some type of oral cancer (Source: ACS).

Early stage gum cancers are often treatable with either surgery or radiation therapy. After surgery to remove the cancer, reconstructive surgery can help restore structures that have been removed, and rehabilitation can help you relearn how to eat, swallow or talk, if needed.

You have the best chance of curing gum cancer if you catch it early. Seek prompt medical care if you develop sores or lumps on your gums, or if you notice loosening of your teeth or changes in the way your dentures fit.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of gum cancer?

Gum cancers may start out looking like a bump or a sore that does not heal. The sore may be red or white and may look like a thickening of the gum. It might bleed. Teeth near the sore may become loose or dentures may not fit well.

Common symptoms of gum cancer

Common symptoms of gum cancer include:

CAUSES

What causes gum cancer?

What causes cells to undergo changes that lead to cancer is not known; however, several risk factors are known, including tobacco use, which is the strongest single risk factor for gum cancer, and alcohol use.

What are the risk factors for gum cancer?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing gum cancer. Not all people with risk factors will get gum cancer. Ri... Read more about gum cancercauses

TREATMENTS

How is gum cancer treated?

Treatment of gum cancer begins with seeking regular medical care throughout your life, including regular dental care. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to provide early screening tests that can detect diseases at an early stage when they are most treatable. Regular medical care also provides an opportunity for your health care professional to promptly evaluate symptoms and ... Read more about gum cancertreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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