Cancer is really a group of diseases rather than a single disorder. All cancers have 3 characteristics in common, however. First, they're diseases in which a group of cells begins to grow uncontrollably. Second, the uncontrolled cell growth invades and harms other tissues nearby. Third, cancers metastisize that is, they spread to other tissues or organs via the lymphatic system or bloodstream. A group of cells can sometimes form a tumor (swelling) that is not cancerous.
These benign tumors don't invade other tissues and they don't metastasize but can cause significant illness if growing in a vital area. Cancer can affect people in any age group; nevertheless, the risk for most cancers increases as people get older. Even though the diagnosis and treatment of cancer continues to enhance, cancers are still responsible for 25 percent of all deaths in the United States along with other developed countries. About 7.7 million individuals die of cancer each year worldwide.
Most cancers are caused by changes in the genetic material of the cells that are multiplying abnormally. These changes might be the result of inherited genetic defects or of such factors as radiation, hormonal imbalances, infectious diseases, or exposure to tobacco smoke and other harmful chemicals. Canker Sores
Canker sores are small ulcers inside the mouth that are white or grayish with red borders. They're not contagious. Canker sores should not be confused with cold sores, which occur outside the mouth around the lips, are caused by a virus, and are very contagious.
Canker sores are little patches of raw skin on the tissues that line the cheeks and the inside of the lips. They might also happen at the base of the gums or below the tongue on the floor of the mouth. They might appear as single ulcers or in clusters. Most are about three-eighths of an inch (1 centimeter) wide, but some are larger. Doctors classify canker sores into 3 groups: minor sores, which are smaller than half an inch (1.3 centimeters) and heal by themselves in seven to ten days; main sores, which are larger than half an inch (1.3 centimeters), are generally deeper than minor sores, might take as long as a month to heal, and may leave scars; and herpetiform sores, which are little, form clusters that look like the fever blisters caused by herpes viruses, and heal in about a week. About 80-85 percent of canker sores are minor sores, 10 percent are main sores, and 5-10 percent are herpetiform.
Canker sores are most typical in kids over ten years of age and young adults. They are estimated to occur in 30-60 percent of the general population. They appear to be equally common in all races and ethnic groups but are slightly more common in women of childbearing age than in men. Herpetiform sores are more typical in older people than in younger patients.
Canker sores appear to run in families even though they are not contagious; about 50 percent of individuals who have frequent occurrences of canker sores have relatives with the same issue. People with certain digestive disorders, including Crohn illness, irritable bowel syndrome, and celiac disease, are also at increased risk of recurrent canker sores.
The exact trigger of canker sores isn't known; nevertheless, some doctors think that the sores develop when the person's immune system targets the tissues of the mouth. There are a number of possible factors that might trigger such a reaction:
The doctor or dentist will generally diagnose canker sores on the basis of their appearance inside the mouth. If the sores do not heal or become more severe, a sample of tissue might be taken to check for other possible mouth disorders. Patients with AIDS, for instance, might have an infection in the mouth along with the canker sores. In a extremely few cases, a sore that doesn't heal is really a symptom of cancer.
Minor canker sores will heal eventually with out treatment, even though dentists often prescribe a mouthwash that contains a steroid medication or a rinse that contains an antibiotic. The antibiotic rinse isn't usually given to children simply because it can trigger their teeth to discolor. Other treatments include pastes like Orabase, Aphthasol, or Lidex. These could be applied directly to the sore to speed healing and protect the sore from further irritation by food, tooth brushing, or orthodontic braces. The dentist might also prescribe mouthwashes or gels that contain a local anesthetic. The gels could be applied directly to the sore with a cotton swab.
Patients can also care for canker sores at house by making a solution of 1 teaspoon of salt in a pint of warm water and using it to rinse out the mouth as often as desired. Other home remedies that work for some people include making a paste of baking soda and water to be applied to the sores; allowing little chips of ice to melt slowly over the sores; or applying a little quantity of milk of magnesia to the sores several times a day. Patients with severe canker sores might be treated with steroid medications injected directly into the tissues under the sores. Some dentists have used lasers to treat severe canker sores in patients who don't respond to other forms of treatment.
Laser therapy gives good outcomes in treating canker sores but is considered experimental because it requires specialized training to use effectively. Other treatments that are beneficial for some patients include vitamin and mineral supplements, zinc lozenges, stress management techniques, and avoiding foods that are likely to irritate the mouth. For many individuals, these "problem foods" include nuts, chips, pretzels, certain spices, salty foods, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.
Most canker sores heal on their own in one to two weeks, even though major sores may take as long as a month to heal totally. Patients with sores that don't respond to any treatment, take longer than a month to heal, or do not heal at all ought to see their physician or dentist as soon as possible.
There's no way to totally stop canker sores in people who are susceptible to them because of family history or an underlying illness condition like AIDS. However, maintaining great oral hygiene, eating a nutritious diet, using softer toothbrushes, and checking with the dentist to be sure that braces or dentures are fitted properly can all help to lower the risk of canker sores.
Canker sores are a typical health problem that is likely to affect about a third of the general population for the foreseeable future. Further advances in laser therapy may offer a new treatment option for people with recurrent or severe canker sores.
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