The Treatment Of Oral Cancer

Treatment of oral cancer is preferably a multi-disciplinary effort of radiation oncologists, surgeons, chemotherapy oncologists, nutritionists, dental practitioners, restorative and rehabilitation specialists.

Most common treatment modes for oral cancer are surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. If oral cancer is detected early, it can be cured with minor surgery. This is why you should consult a doctor when you notice any change in your mouth. Even in the case of advanced oralcancer using radio therapy and chemotherapy along with surgery has a 50:50 chance of cure.

One of the issues with regard to treatment is cost of oral cancer treatment in India. But your treatment plan will depend on a number of factors like:

  • Size and type of cancer
  • The stage of cancer and how far it has spread
  • General state of your health

If cancer has not spread beyond the oropharynx or mouth, complete cure is possible through surgery alone. If cancer has spread, radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be needed. Your medical team may recommend a treatment plan, but ultimately, the decision is yours.

Before Treatment:

  • Radiotherapy makes your teeth vulnerable to infections, so you will undergo a dental exam to complete any dental procedures before cancer treatment.
  • It is good to stop drinking and smoking before cancer treatment to speed up recovery. You can take the help of nurse or general physician to do this.

Surgery:

  • Affected tissue is removed without causing damage to remaining parts of mouth.
  • In advanced cases of cancer, parts of your mouth lining and facial skin may be removed.
  • These parts are replaced with portions from the body like chest or forearm.
  • If tongue is affected, part of it will be removed called as partial glossectomy
  • If cancer has affected jaw bone, that part has to be removed.
  • A new technology called as 3D printing is used to replicate jaw bone like original.
  • Muscle and bone used for bone replacement is sourced from hip, lower leg or shoulder blade.
  • To replace lost teeth, dental implants can be used.
  • Lymph nodes near the tumour may be removed to destroy all cancer.

Radiotherapy:

  • Doses of radiation are used to kill cancer cells.
  • In oral cancer, main use is to prevent return of cancer
  • Treatment is given every day for 6 weeks, depending on the spread of cancer.
  • It has side effect like mouth ulcers, sore skin, dry mouth, loss of appetite, stiff jaw, tiredness etc.
  • Distressing side effects disappear after radiation is stopped.
  • There are two types: external radiation and internal radiation.
  • External radiation is administered via a machine, once or twice a day at the hospital.
  • Internal radiation is given through radioactive implants placed inside tissue. These implants are kept in body for a few days.

Chemotherapy:

  • In this procedure, anti-cancer drugs are used to kill cancer cells.
  • It is a systemic therapy as it enters the blood stream and impacts cancer cells in the whole body.
  • A new drug called Cetuximab also targets growth of cancer cells.
  • Chemo is usually given as an injection, either athome or in the OPD of a hospital. It does not need hospital stay.
  • Danger is that chemo may affect both cancerous tissue and healthy tissue.
  • It has some distressing side effects but these disappear when treatment is stopped.

These are the main lines of treatment for oral cancer. Oral cancer treatment in India cost is relatively low, while being of high quality. So, medical tourists are making a bee-line for Indian hospitals.

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