Doctors approach oral cancer treatment on a case-by-case basis. In order to have the most favorable prognosis, make to sure to learn about the symptoms of oral cancer. Several variables contribute to the determination of an appropriate treatment strategy. These variables may include:
- Medical history
- General wellness and health
- Other diseases/disorders that may have contributed to the onset of cancer
- Responses to previous treatment and therapies
- The size, type, and location of the cancer
Common Treatment Options
The treatment of oral cancer may vary in intensity and scale, but the goal is always the same: Eliminate cancer cells found in the tissues of the body. Common treatment methods include:
Surgery is divided into the following sub-groups:
- Primary Resection: This surgery involves the removal of a tumor and some adjacent tissues.
- Mandible Resection: In this procedure, parts of the jaw must be removed, as well as other tissues.
- Maxillectomy: This procedure involves the partial or complete removal of the roof of the mouth.
- Mohn’s Micrographic Surgery: In this procedure, each layer of tissue is examined and checked for cancer. Cancer is then removed from each layer. This is done mostly in cancers of the lips.
- Laryngectomy: This surgery is performed to remove cancers on the tongue or oropharynx.
- Neck Dissection: This procedure is used to remove cancers from adjacent lymph nodes or the neck.
Side effects common to the surgical procedures listed above are:
- Feeling tired
- Chewing, swallowing, or talking difficulties
Two types of radiation therapy are used to treat oral cancer:
- External Beam Radiation: In this procedure, ionizing radiation beams travel through the body in a linear pattern, resulting in the death or disruption of malignant cells.
- Internal Radiation: Radioactive materials are injected directly into tumorous tissues.
Radiation therapy side effects may vary, but they generally include:
- Eating and swallowing problems
- Mild tooth decay
- Sore throat or mouth
- Infections of the mouth
- Jaw pain or stiffness
- Quality of voice
- Thyroid Changes
- Taste changes
- Gum pain
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs or chemical agents to kill cancer cells. These drugs can be injected into the blood stream or directly into the tumor. Oral cancers may also be treated with pill-form chemotherapy. Pill-form chemo is normally prescribed alongside other treatments, primarily radiation treatment.