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Common Side Effects After Surgery for Oral Cancer

Most people can go home within several days after surgery for oral cancer. It will most likely take you a few weeks to feel better, but prescribed medicine will help control the pain.

Here are some of the things that could occur during your recovery.

  • Pain in the area of the surgery

  • Swelling in the face

  • Numbness of the ear, weakness in raising the arm above the head, or weakness of the lower lip (depending on the site of the surgery)

  • Difficulty swallowing, eating, or talking

  • Fatigue

Most of these effects are temporary. Your doctor or nurse can help you learn how to cope with them. Before you leave the hospital, make sure you talk with your doctor about how to recognize the signs of a serious problem. In general, people who have surgery for oral cancer can get back to their normal activities after a couple of weeks.

“What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer: Treatment.” National Cancer Institute. U.S. National Institutes of Health. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/oral/page8 Accessed 2013.

“Treatments and Side Effects.” American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/index Accessed 2013.

“Understanding Cancer Surgery: A Guide for Patients and Families.” American Cancer Society, 2013. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/treatmenttypes/surgery/index Accessed 2013.

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