Mouth cancer is a cancer that develops in any part of the mouth (oral cavity). It can affect your oropharynx, which includes your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and your throat, which is visible when your mouth is wide open. Mouth cancer forms when cells in the mouth or on the lips develop changes and abnormally start to overgrow, leading to a lesion in the mouth. Mouth cancer ranks eleventh as a common cancer globally. It involves the presence of white patches or sores that bleed.

If left untreated, mouth cancer can spread throughout the oral cavity and throat to other areas of the head and neck. Mouth cancer typically affects people over 40 years of age and men are twice affected as women. It is estimated that in 2023, more than 700 were diagnosed with mouth cancer. The average age of diagnosis is 67 years old.

Role of homeopathy in treating mouth cancer

Homeopathy helps manage symptoms of mouth cancer and the side effects of conventional cancer therapy. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are painful and present with numerous side effects. Routine activities like talking, eating, and drinking water, are difficult for people undergoing conventional therapies. Homeopathy focuses on pain management by reducing the symptoms of mouth cancer. The medicines help slow down or stop the growth of cancerous cells in mouth cancer.

Five effective homeopathic medicines for mouth cancer

Arsenic album

Common name: Arsenic trioxide

Ars. alb. is indicated in treating cancers resulting from the poisonous effects of chemicals and providing relief to last-stage mouth cancer patients. There is easy bleeding of gums with an offensive breath and an unhealthy mouth. Lips are sore with eruptions and ulcers in the mouth.

There is aphthae with fetid and bloody saliva and a burning sensation all over the mouth, which gets worse at night. The person also experiences dryness and redness in the tongue with a stitching type of pain. There is a desire to drink warm water, which gives relief to the burning pains. Severe weakness, extreme restlessness, and fear of death is present during the illness.

Condurango

Common name: Condor plant

Condurango helps relieve symptoms of painful boils or tumors in areas of the tongue with a burning sensation in the mouth. There are cracks and sores in the corners of the mouth with a loss of appetite and emaciation.

Lycopodium clavatum

Common name: Club moss

Lycopodium is indicated for mouth ulcers and burning pain. There is ulceration on the floor of the mouth, burning inside the mouth with intense pain. The tongue is swollen with multiple small boils on the surface. Dry mouth with a lack of desire to drink water and a tendency to abdominal gas. The person feels a loss of confidence and anxiousness. The pain in the mouth reduces by drinking warm drinks.

Thuja occidentalis

Common name: Arbor vitae

Thuja is indicated for a lump or growth in the oral cavity. There is a tumor on the tongue near the throat that causes difficulty in speaking. The lump or growth in gums bleeds easily. There is a dark red or purple look of blood vessels at the base of the tongue with sweet or bitterness in the mouth. The ulcers appear painful on the tongue and different areas inside the mouth. The pain is worse because of the heat and after drinking coffee.

Hydrastis Canadensis

Common name: Goldenseal

Hydrastis is indicated in mouth cancer of the mucus membrane. There is formation of ulcers inside the mouth. The tongue is large, loose with inflammation caused by cancer, and shows imprints of teeth. There is thick yellow, stringy discharge from mucus membranes.

Causative factors for mouth cancer

Mouth cancers form when cells on the lips or mouth develop changes. A cell’s DNA changes, and the cells continue to grow and divide. A healthy cell would die after a specific time, but this cell continues to accumulate and form a tumor. The accumulating abnormal oral cells may spread inside the mouth to other body areas.

Mouth cancer mostly begins in the flat, thin cells called squamous cells that line your lips and the inside of the mouth. Most mouth cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. The factors that may increase the risk of mouth cancer are excessive exposure of lips to sun, tobacco use such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, human papillomavirus (HPV), a weakened immune system, and heavy use of alcohol.

Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer

  • Sore, irritation, lump, or thick patch on your lip, mouth, or throat
  • Persistent sore throat or hoarseness of voice
  • A red or white patch in your mouth
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing
  • Pain or bleeding in the mouth
  • Numbness, pain on your face, neck, or in your mouth
  • Crusty or rough areas on your lips, gums, or inside of your mouth
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Ear pain

Treatment of mouth cancer

The treatment for mouth cancer includes a physical examination to look for the entire area inside of your mouth. Scrape biopsy or brush biopsy to scrape the area to gently obtain cells examined for cancer. Incisional biopsy includes removing small pieces of tissues to get cells examined for cancer. Indirect laryngoscopy or pharyngoscopy to look into your throat. The three main treatment options for mouth cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The factors taken into consideration before the treatment of mouth cancer include the type of mouth cancer, the extent of its spread, and your overall health status.

Another treatment option for mouth cancer is targeted therapy, which is a newer type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to identify and attack cancer cells precisely. Immunotherapy is also a potential treatment that works with the body’s defense system to improve immune function.

Diet and lifestyle modification for mouth cancer

  • Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco, or using tobacco in any form.
  • Get vaccinated for human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Quit drinking alcohol.
  • Opt for soft, bland food, and soups during active treatment.
  • Avoid citrus fruits and juices, salty and spicy foods.
  • Do not drink carbonated or caffeinated drinks.
  • Avoid hot food –that causes soreness and discomfort in the mouth and throat.

Conclusion

Mouth cancer needs early diagnosis and treatment to avoid further complications. This can help to prevent mouth cancer from spreading to other areas of the mouth or throat. If you’ve been treated for mouth cancer, your doctor will share information on how your specific treatment may affect your day-to-day life. Regardless of your situation, you may need to regularly follow up with your team of doctors and your dentist. There are ways to prevent mouth cancer, and one of the most important is to avoid using tobacco.

Homeopathy is an important complementary and alternative medicine in treating mouth cancer. Constitutional homeopathic medicines are safe and effective in the early stage of mouth cancer. If you notice any abnormal signs, proper consultation is advisable to commence appropriate treatment.

References

  • Bagot J-L. How to prescribe Thuja occidentalis in oncology? Analysis of the literature, study of practices and personal experience. Rev d Homéopath [Internet]. 2020;11(3):e26–32. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.revhom.2020.07.001
  • Pal P, Raychowdhury R, Dolai TK, Roy S, Dastidar R, Halder A. Study of arsenic exposure in oral/oropharyngeal carcinoma in West Bengal. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2017;30(2):271-9. https://doi.org/10.13075/ijomeh.1896.00806