Your Options for Oral Cancer Therapy
You may get more than one kind of treatment for oral cancer. If so, it’s called combination treatment, or multimodality treatment.1 You may have more than one of these treatments:1,2
Combining two or more of these treatments may be more effective that using just one.1,2 Based on the stage of your cancer, your oncologist will select a primary therapy. This is the therapy that will have the greatest impact on the cancer. One or more other therapies may then be added to boost the chance of a cure.1 For instance, you may have surgery and chemotherapy. Or you may have surgery and radiation. You may even have all three types of care.1,2
The order that you get treatments has a specific name. For instance, when you have a treatment before having surgery, it is called neoadjuvant treatment.4 You may have chemotherapy or radiation before surgery to help shrink the tumor and keep the cancer from spreading.4,5
Or you may have treatment after surgery, called adjuvant treatment.3 Chemotherapy or radiation soon after surgery aims to kill any cancer cells that are left.5
1 “A Comparison of Multimodal Therapy and Surgery for Esophageal Adenocarcinoma” Thomas N. Walsh, M.D., et al., N Engl J Med 1996; 335:462-467 August 15, 1996 http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199608153350702?keytype2=tf_ipsecsha&ijkey=4e3bac586ad21e07b525fd9c493498df123d4637& Accessed 2010.
2 “Treatment: State of the Science Multidisciplinary Tumor Board Concept” CDC Oral Cancer Background Papers, Chapter 6. www.oralcancerfoundation.org/cdc/cdc_chapter6.htm Accessed 2010.
3 “Dictionary of Cancer Terms: .” National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. www.cancer.gov/dictionary/?searchTxt=adjuvant&btnGo.x=0&btnGo.y=0&sgroup=Starts+with&lang= Accessed 2010.
4 “Dictionary of Cancer Terms: ” National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. www.cancer.gov/dictionary/?searchTxt=neoadjuvant Accessed 2010.
5 “Radiation Therapy and You: Support for People with Cancer: Questions and Answers about Radiation Therapy.” National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, April 20, 2007. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/radiation-therapy-and-you/page2 Accessed 2010.