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Gum cancer

Gum cancer: Introduction

Gum cancer is a type of malignancy that occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of cancer cells in the gums. Gum cancer is a type of oral cancer and a relatively rare form of cancer in general.

Gum cancer is most treatable and curable if caught in the earliest stage of the disease. Gum cancer grows relatively slowly, but untreated and/or advanced gum cancer can spread into the deeper tissues of the mouth and neck. In advanced stages, gum cancer can spread through the lymph nodes and blood to other parts of the body where the cancer cells can form another cancerous tumor. This is called metastasis. Gum cancer and other forms of oral cancer have a high risk of recurring after treatment.

Early symptoms of gum cancer include a sore or lesion on the gums that does not heal within two weeks. However, there may not be any symptoms or symptoms that are easily noticeable in the early, most curable, stage of gum cancer. For more details on other key symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of gum cancer.

People at risk for developing gum cancer include smokers and people who drink alcohol excessively. Using smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco) also increases the risk of developing gum cancer. Risks also include being infected with human papillomavirus (HPV). A diet that is low in fruits in vegetables is a risk factor as well.

Men get gum cancer more often than women, and people over the age of 40 are affected more often than younger people. However, more recently, gum cancer is occurring in greater numbers in younger people.

Diagnosing gum cancer begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms and risk factors for gum cancer. Diagnosis also includes completing a physical examination that concentrates on the gums, tongue, lips and mouth. It is not unusual for early signs of gum cancer or oral cancer to be found by a dentist during an oral exam. The lymph nodes in the neck are also felt for signs of swelling (lymphedema) during an exam.

Diagnostic testing for gum cancer includes a biopsy. In a biopsy a sample of cells or tissues are taken from the area or area of the gums that have a lesion, lump or are abnormal and may be cancerous. The sample is examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells.

Gum cancer is very treatable and often curable if caught in the early stage. However, a diagnosis of gum cancer can be missed or delayed because some symptoms of gum cancer are similar to symptoms of other conditions. In addition, there may not be any symptoms in early stages of gum cancer. For more information about other diseases, disorders and conditions that can mimic gum cancer, refer to misdiagnosis of gum cancer.

The prognosis for people with gum cancer varies depending on the stage of advancement of the cancer and other factors. Treatment of gum cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. For more details about treatment, refer to treatment of gum cancer. ...more »

Gum cancer: Any cancer of the gum. The gum is the soft tissue surrounding the base of the teeth. The medical term for gums is gingival and thus gum cancer is also known as gingival cancer. ...more »

Gum cancer: Symptoms

Symptoms of gum cancer can vary among individuals and differ depending on the stage of advancement of gum cancer. There commonly are not any symptoms in early gum cancer. If there are symptoms, they may not be severe enough to be noticed or cause concern.

Typical symptoms of gum cancer include a sore or lesion on the gums, especially if it does ...more symptoms »

Gum cancer: Treatments

Treatment of gum cancer starts with prevention. Preventive measures include not smoking and not using smokeless tobacco products (chewing tobacco). It is also important not to use alcohol in excess. Using safe sex practices is also key. This can help avoid oral infection with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), which increases the risk of ...more treatments »

Gum cancer: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of gum cancer can be delayed or missed because in early stages there may not be any symptoms. In addition, symptoms when they do appear may not be severe enough to be noticed or cause concern. Some symptoms of gum cancer can be similar to symptoms of other diseases or conditions. These include oral herpes, ill-fitting dentures, canker sore, gum burn, dental ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Gum cancer

Treatments for Gum cancer

  • Intralesional triamcinalone injections
  • Topical steroids
  • Local anesthetics
  • Combination of surgery, Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy
  • Treatment of oral cancers depends upon the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the age and other health problems that the patient might have. Treatments include:
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Gum cancer?

Gum cancer: Related Patient Stories

Gum cancer: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Gum cancer.

Causes of Gum cancer

  • Aphthous stomatitis
  • Herpes stomatitis
  • Self-limited viral disease (e.g., herpangina, hand-foot-mouth disease)
  • Chemotherapy drugs (especially 5-FU and methotrexate)
  • Squamous cell carcinoma should always be considered if a nonhealing ulcer or oral erosion is noted
  • more causes...»

More information about causes of Gum cancer:

Disease Topics Related To Gum cancer

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Gum cancer:

Gum cancer: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Gum cancer

Spitz nevi misdiagnosed as dangerous melanoma skin cancer: One possible misdiagnosis to consider in lieu of melanoma is spitz nevi. See melanoma and spitz nevi....read more »

Gum cancer: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Gum cancer

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Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Gum cancer, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Gum cancer: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Gum cancer

Statistics for Gum cancer

Gum cancer: Broader Related Topics

Gum cancer Message Boards

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