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How Oral Cancer is Treated

Treatment for any type of cancer depends on many factors like the location of the tumor, the stage of the disease and the general health of the patient. Unlike many cancers the usual treatment of Oral cancer is surgery but chemotherapy and radiation may also be used in conjunction.

When dealing with cancer surgery usually is the last resort as using the knife can lead to drastic changes in the life of the person which may include removal of the tumor along with the part where the tumor is.

Treatment for Oral cancer in most cases is handled by a team of experts which generally includes an otolaryngologist and different types of oncologists like a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, plastic and reconstructive surgery specialist, speech pathologists, physical therapists, and even dietitians. Another important member of the treatment is the psychologist who helps people cope up with the disease pre and post-surgery.


It is one of the first steps to curing Oral cancer. It works by killing the rapidly dividing cancer cells. But due to its nature other rapidly dividing cells are also affected and side effects are also common.

The timing of the therapy

Adjuvant therapy – the term means that the chemotherapy is used alone or after surgery. The word adjuvant means in addition to and is used to minimize the chance of cancer or any leftover cancer cells. Adjuvant therapy is given in combination with radiation to minimize the risk of recurrence.

Neoadjuvant therapy – in this therapy chemotherapy is administered before surgery or radiotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor so that less extensive surgery is needed. This is also done so that a smaller field of radiation is used to treat cancer.

Side effects

There are a number of side effects associated with chemotherapy although the management and severity of these have highly subsided.

  • Hair loss
  • Bone Marrow Suppression –
  • Peripheral Neuropathy – It is numbness and tingling sensation in the hands and feet of the patient. This is due to taxanes that are used in the medicines. The severity has been varied but on a positive note, the number of cases has gone down.
  • Mouth Sores

In most cases, the advantages greatly triumph the side effects.

Radiation Therapy

It uses high energy waves to kill cancer cells. It can be used as a sole method of treatment or may be used before or after the surgery. It can be administered in a single treatment or in several bi-weekly treatments over two or three weeks. It can be given in the following ways.


Not always the first step but sometimes unavoidable, Surgery is sometimes the only option of treatment. Surgery and the whole process of getting to the surgical table is a long and tedious process. You should take time to select the best oral cancer treatment hospitals and prepare yourself mentally and physically for the uphill struggle. But fear not the brave shall overcome this obstacle and lead a normal life in no time. Surgery offers the chance of a cure and can be done at any stage of cancer.


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