Oral cancer treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.Some patients have a combination of treatments. As for any stage of oral cancer, patients will require treatment to reduce and control the pain and relieve therapy side effects. Emotional and practical problems will be taken care of.This kind of treatment is called supportive care, symptom management, or palliative care.
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The determining factor of your treatment will be, where in the mouth the cancer began, whether the cancer has spread and how big the tumor is.Your doctor can describe your treatment choices and the expected results. Consider how the treatment you choose may affect your appearance, speech and normal activities like chewing.
If the biopsy shows that cancer is present, your doctor needs to know the stage of your disease to plan the best treatment. The stage of the cancer is known by whether the cancer has spread and if so, to what other parts of the body, and also the size of the tumor. Lab test and endoscopy may needed at the staging level. Endoscopy is when a doctor uses a thin lighted tube to check your lungs, throat and windpipe.
One common treatment solution for oral cancer is surgery to remove the tumor from the mouth or throat. In other cases the surgeon may remove lymph nodes from your neck. There could be other tissues removed from your mouth and neck too. Surgery a lone could be needed although sometimes it could be a combination with radiation therapy.
Radiation is a form of local therapy also known radiotherapy. Only the affected area is affected by this therapy.Radiation therapy is used alone for small tumors or for patients who cannot have surgery. It may be used before surgery to kill cancer cells and shrink the tumor. It also may be used after surgery to destroy cancer cells that may remain in the area.Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells.
Two types of radiation therapy can be used to treat cancer of the mouth.
• External radiation: This type of radiation uses a machine. Once or twice a day for 5 days a week for several months is what a patient goes through.
• Internal radiation (implant radiation): The radiation comes from radioactive material placed in seeds, needles, or thin plastic tubes put directly in the tissue. Treatment of this nature requires you to be admitted to the hospital as the implants remain in place for a couple of days and are removed when you are discharged to go home.
Some people with oral cancer have both kinds of radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. Known also as systematic therapy for affecting cancer cells throughout the body as it enters the bloodstream. Chemotherapy is administered by way of injection which can be done at an outpatient hospital or at a doctors office.Rarely, a hospital stay may be needed.
Most oral cancer patients would like to take part in decision making when it comes to the treatment. Learning about your disease and the treatment choices available is only natural. A plan to suit your needs and personal values should be discussed with your doctor to bring out the best results.
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