What are the Different Types of Oral Cancer Treatment?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 January 2020
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A diagnosis of oral cancer treatment often brings about a great deal of distress. Cancers of this type include such variations as head and neck cancer as well as tongue cancer, and are often somewhat painful. Fortunately, there are different types of oral cancer treatment that greatly increase the chances for eliminating the cancer and restoring the individual to a state of good health.

One of the first of the different types of oral cancer treatment that is likely to be utilized is drug therapy. This often involves the use of chemotherapy to introduce drugs into the body that are capable of traveling to the site of the cancerous growth and killing the tissue. While chemotherapy treatments today are much more precise than in years past, there is still the chance for damage to healthy tissue as well. Side effects like nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and some hair loss are not uncommon.

Along with chemotherapy, one of the different types of oral cancer treatment is radiation therapy. Like chemotherapy, radiation treatments are capable of killing the cancerous tissue quickly. Some doctors actually prefer the use of radiation via targeted x-ray exposure or the insertion of seeds or wires to release the radiation at the point of the cancer. While very effective, side effects like tooth decay, dry mouth, and bleeding gums are common with this course of treatment.


When radiation and drug therapy do not produce the desired results, surgery is often the next step. Among all the different types of oral cancer treatment, this is considered the most serious approach. Often, it is not a single surgery, but a series of procedures that are performed over time. The first surgery will remove the cancerous growths from the oral cavity and any surrounding areas, such as the neck. If the tongue, the jaw, or the cheeks are affected, follow-up procedures to reconstruct those areas will likely commence, once the patient has had time to heal from the first round of surgery. Depending on the number of procedures necessary to complete the recovery, it may take several months to complete this type of treatment series.

The different types of oral cancer treatment used often depend on several key factors. Physicians base their course of treatment on the current rate of development associated with the growths, the danger of the cancer spreading to vital organs in the immediate area, and any evidence that indicates the cancer has already begun to metastasize. While non-invasive methods often work well in the earliest stages, surgery is highly likely when the oral cancer has advanced.



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