Oral cancer refers to cancer that develops inside the mouth. Because we use our mouth many times throughout the day for eating and talking, oral cancer symptoms are usually easily noticed – which also makes this one of the most treatable types of cancer, because it is usually caught early.
Treatment for oral cancer usually depends on factors that are unique to the patient, including the stage of the disease and the patient’s overall health. Your doctor will typically present you with treatment options and find out which one you are most comfortable with. An effective treatment for mouth cancer will both maximize the effects in reducing the tumor and minimize interference with your day-to-day activities.
If you see or feel something suspicious in your mouth, schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately. Whether it is oral cancer or some type of infection, the earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.
Let’s talk about how oral cancer is treated by a team of dentists, medical technicians, and surgeons.
What Is the Treatment for Oral Cancer?
Your treatment plan for oral cancer may include one or more of the following:
Oral cancer treatment almost always includes surgical intervention. This will involve removing cancerous cells in the affected area, which may include the gums, tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, or the floor of the mouth.
Your surgeon will also check to see if the oral cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes; if so, some or all of the affected lymph node(s) may also be removed. If extensive surgery is required, a plastic surgeon can perform reconstructive surgery to restore normal functioning and appearance of the mouth.
Often used in combination with surgery, radiation is a highly effective treatment for oral cancer. The physician will work with your dentist to ensure that your mouth is healthy enough or prepared for radiation treatment, because this type of therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to shrink the tumor or slow its progression.
There are various radiation methods that can be used, including external-beam radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy. External-beam therapy is the more traditional type, delivered to the tumor from a machine, whereas internal radiation delivers radiation through seeds or wires that are implanted near the tumor. An implant like this would continually release low levels of radiation to treat your oral cancer.
If you have a more advanced form of oral cancer, the treatment may be combined with chemotherapy.
Usually administered either orally or intravenously, chemotherapy is used to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells. In some cases, chemotherapy may be combined with radiation to treat oral cancer without the need of surgery.
Oral Cancer Screening and Prevention in St. Paul
Fortunately, oral cancer is one of the most preventable of all cancers. Investing in your oral health with regular dental checkups is the most effective way to prevent the development of oral cancer and other types of mouth cancer.
Hagerman Dental Care offers comprehensive dental health services, which include oral cancer screening and prevention. At Dr. Steven Hagerman’s dental clinic, we provide excellent dental services in a calm and relaxing environment. Let us know of your concerns about your oral health, and we will make sure that you have the right information that can help you be more proactive in caring for your mouth.
To schedule an appointment with us, call our friendly team at (651) 646-2392 or request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!