The Goal of Surgery for Oral Cancer
The goal of surgery is to remove the tumor from your mouth as well as some of the healthy tissue around it.2 When you have surgery for oral cancer, the doctor will try to remove the tumor without harming your appearance or how your mouth functions.1
In some cases, your doctor may need to rebuild parts of your mouth with reconstructive surgery.2 This may be done during the surgery to remove the tumor. Or it may be done separately.4 After surgery, you made need rehabilitation to help improve your speech, as well as ability to swallow and chew. 2,3
Surgery is a common treatment for oral cancers.3 If your cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or if the tumor is large, you may also have radiation or radiation with chemotherapy.3 Ask your doctor to thoroughly explain your treatment plan and ask questions about any aspect you do not understand.4
1 “Detailed Guide: Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer.” American Cancer Society, 2007. www.cancer.org/Cancer/OralCavityandOropharyngealCancer/DetailedGuide/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer-treating-surgery Accessed 2010.
2 “Head and Neck Cancer: Questions and Answers.” National Cancer Institute, 2005. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/head-and-neck Accessed 2010.
3 “Medical Encyclopedia: Oral Cancer.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 2010. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001035.htm Accessed 2008.
4 “What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer.” National Cancer Institute, 2006. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/oral Accessed 2010.