Verrucous carcinoma is a rare type of cancer and is actually a subtype of squamous cell carcinoma. This particular form of cancer is often seen in those who chew tobacco or intake snuff orally. "Snuff dipper's cancer" is a popular name of Verrucous carcinoma. The oral cavity is the most common site of Verrucous carcinoma but it can occur in several locations in the head, neck as well as in the genitalia.
The exact cause of Verrucous carcinoma is still unknown to medical science. It is believed that the DNA which is in charge of cell growth somehow gets damaged and results in an overgrowth of cells and finally forms a tumour. It is suspected that the DNA is damaged by certain types of human papillomavirus. Smoking and chewing of tobacco are also known to cause Verrucous carcinoma.
Verrucous carcinoma starts at certain cells in the skin or mucous membranes. As these cells grow out of control and they often develop into tumours in the oral cavity, larynx, genitals, anal area and feet. The tumours initially look like warts. When they are formed in the oral cavity, they have symptoms like difficulty in swallowing, cough and hoarseness. Without proper treatment, the cancer is likely to penetrate deep through the skin and begin to affect the surrounding tissues, muscles and bones.
Verrucous carcinoma is quite serious disease but the good side is that it is quite treatable as well. The tumours of Verrucous carcinoma are slow growing, but if they are left untreated, they may start spreading to other parts of the body.
Verrucous carcinoma does not seem to run in families. Most of the risk factors of the disease are environmental, such smoking and chewing of tobacco. Risk of being caused by human papillomavirus does not run in the family as well.
Verrucous carcinoma is very rare in children. This type of cancer mostly affects males older than 50 years of age. As children do not smoke or chew tobacco, they are quite out of the risk.
It is possible for Verrucous carcinoma to get spread through the body, but the chances are quite rare. Usually, the tumours of Verrucous carcinoma are localized. In care they are not treated, there are chances of growing deeper into the skin and may affect nearby tissues, muscles and bones.
Treatment options of Verrucous carcinoma depend on the location of the tumour. Surgery is the prime treatment for this disease. This surgical process can sometimes become very challenging because of the location of the tumour. Doctors may recommend for radiation therapy after the surgery to make sure that any cancerous cell is killed.
As very little is known about the causes of the disease, the prevention options are limited as well. There are ways by which the risks can be diminished. Smoking and chewing of tobacco are the risk factors of Verrucous carcinoma and thus avoiding these habits are helpful in preventing this disease. It is also very important to consult a doctor if any unusual growth in the oral cavity, genitals or feet is noticed.