Treatment Choices for Oral Cancer
If you have been diagnosed with oral cancer, you likely have many questions about your options for treatment. There are several treatments available, but your options depend on several factors:
The type, size, and location of the tumor in your mouth1,2
How far the cancer has spread1
Your general health and your age1
Treatments for oral cancer include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Surgery is used to remove the tumor from the mouth or throat. Sometimes, the lymph nodes in the neck or other tissue are also removed.1
Radiation is used to kill cancer cells. It is a local treatment that targets the cells in only one area. It can be given externally by a machine, or placed internally inside the body, called implant radiation.1
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is called a systemic treatment because it is injected into the bloodstream and fights cancer cells all over the body.1
Depending on the type of cancer you have and how far it has spread, you may have more than one type of treatment.1,2 This combination of treatments is known as adjuvant treatment.
1 “What you need to know about Oral Cancer.” National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/oral Accessed 2010.
2 “Detailed Guide: Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer types of Treatment.” American Cancer Society, September 28, 2007. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/oralcavityandoropharyngealcancer/detailedguide/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer-treating-by-stage Accessed 2010.
Online Medical Reviewer:
Eakle, Stephan W., DDS
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