Common Specialities
{{speciality.keyWord}}
Common Issues
{{issue.keyWord}}
Common Treatments
{{treatment.keyWord}}

Overview

Oral Cancer: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Oral cancer is defined as the abnormal growth of cells in any part of the lips or mouth. Most oral cancers are known to commence in the lips or mouth lining. This is the region where we find the flat cells also known as the squamous cells. Other names for this type of cancer are oropharyngeal cancer and oral cavity cancer. There is a wide range of risk factors associated with oral cancer. This involves heavy alcohol consumption, smoking, having human papillomavirus (HPV), or marijuana usage. In case of lip cancer, exposure to UV light or tanning beds increases the risk for oral cancer. Symptoms include lumps or sores on the mouth region or the lips.

The diagnosis begins with the doctor conducting an oral screening exam as part of your routine dental exam. In specific terms, your dentist will try to find out the irregular changes of tissues in your oral cavity, neck, face, and head, or feel for lumps at the same areas. During the oral examination, he will look for discoloured tissues or sores. You may also require a biopsy to determine any suspicious looking areas. The treatment methods available for oral cancer are the same as any other cancers. Firstly, it involves a surgery to remove the cancerous growth of cells, followed by a chemotherapy or radiation therapy to fully remove the remaining cancerous cells.

How is the treatment done?

After proper consultation with your doctor, you will be guided towards a specialist like an otolaryngologist, maxillofacial surgeon, plastic surgeon, radiation oncologist, and medical oncologist to treat this disease. These people specialize in surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy related to mouth cancer. Other health care professional include a speech pathologist, dentist, mental health counselor, and nutritionist.

Surgical treatment for the removal of cancerous cells is the most common treatment for oral cancer. At times, the surgeon removes the lymph nodes and other tissues from the neck as well. Patients may also have a combination treatment of surgery along with radiation therapy. Radiation therapy or radiotherapy is a kind of local therapy which affects the treated area only. It is used alone for patients who are unable to afford surgery or for treating small tumors. In some cases it is done before surgery to shrink the tumor by killing cancer cells. In order to treat oral cancer there are two types of radiation treatment used. These are external and internal radiation (implant radiation). External radiation comes from a machine and internal radiation comes from radioactive materials put in thin plastic and needles which are directly placed in the tissue. Chemotherapy is the usage of anticancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. This systematic therapy is associated with the drugs to enter the bloodstream and affect the cancerous cells throughout the body. It is usually given by injection.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

A patient who has a small tumor or is unable to tolerate or afford surgery is eligible for radiation therapy. Someone with locally advanced disease is eligible for surgery.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

A patient who is older than 75 years is not eligible for the treatment. Also, pregnant women are not eligible.

Are there any side effects?

Side effects of the treatment include soreness, pain or redness in the mouth and throat, loss of senses of taste, hoarseness, and skin colour change on the head and neck as tanned or sunburns which eventually fades away.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

It is very important that the patient receives proper follow-up care after the treatment. Even if it seems that the cancer has been completely destroyed or removed, the disease has a tendency to return because of the undetected cancerous cells remaining in the body. Recurrence of cancer cells is regularly monitored by the doctor. Your doctor will recommend you to keep investigating your mouth and come for screening exams regularly. He may do a blood test, x-rays or a complete physical examination. Doctors also urge you to strictly stop the usage of tobacco and consumption of alcohol to prevent recurrence of oral cancer.

How long does it take to recover?

It may take more than a year depending upon the severity of the disease. Side effects may still remain.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The cost of treatment ranges from Rs. 3,00,000 to Rs. 3,50,000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

No the results of the treatment for oral cancer are not permanent as the cancer cells can return in case they were not detected earlier.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Alternative treatments for oral cancer include using herbs like turmeric (curcuma longa), mint, thyme, basil and green tea. The usage of these herbs will provide benefit in easing the symptoms associated with oral cancer.

Safety: Low Effectiveness: Medium Timeliness: Very High Relative Risk: High Side Effects: High Time For Recovery: Very High Price Range:

Rs. 3,00,000 - Rs. 3,50,000

Popular Health Tips

Oral Cancer: Understanding How It Can Be Diagnosed!

Dr. Gagan Saini 90% (25 ratings)
MD (Radiation Oncology), DNB (Radiotherapy)
Oncologist, Noida
Oral Cancer: Understanding How It Can Be Diagnosed!
Oral cancer is the name given to cancer that develops in the tissues of the mouth or oral cavity. If you interact with a specialist, you will know that oral cancers belong to a larger group of cancers called head and neck cancers. And more importantly, oral cancers are one of the most preventable cancers. You may already be aware that cancers develop when cells begin to divide indiscriminately forming malignant tumors. In oral cancers, the dividing cells are the squamous cells found in the lining of your mouth, tongue, and lips. India is the oral cancer capital of the world and almost half of the total nber of oral cancers in the world happen in our country. Also, oral cancers have a high local failure rate and are therefore beat treated by surgery and radiotherapy in most cases. An implausible fact about oral cancers is that these are most often discovered after they have spread to the lymph nodes of the neck- which means at the stages III and IV. All cancers including oral cancers become more difficult to cure at these later stages. This is why early detection is key to surviving oral cancer. Types of oral cancers Oral cancers, to be precise, including cancers of the: Lips Tongue Gums Cheek Floor of the mouth Roof of the mouth, including hard and soft palate Usually, it s your dentist who is the first to notice the first signs of oral cancer. Risk factors Tobacco use is the biggest risk factor for oral cancer. Tobacco includes smoking cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, and pipes, as well as chewing tobacco. Alcohol is another big risk factor. So, if you are one of those heavy drinkers, be aware of the scourge of oral cancer and get yourself tested periodically to rule out this killer. The risk for oral cancer also increases exponentially when both alcohol and tobacco are used together. Other important risk factors are: HPV infection i.e. human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted virus that spreads through unprotected vaginal as well oral sex Chronic sun exposure on the face, especially the lips Family history of oral or other types of cancer Men are more susceptible to oral cancers Being older than 45 Radiation exposure Having any other form of head and neck cancer Symptoms of oral cancer Sore lip or mouth that is not healing Any growth inside your mouth Bleeding from the mouth, including jaws Loose teeth Difficulty or pain while swallowing Major trouble wearing dentures A lump in neck or cheek Chronic earache Serious weight loss Numbness in lower lip, face, neck, or chin Any colored patch in the mouth or lips Diagnosis of oral cancer Diagnosis starts with a physical exam of your mouth. The physician will examine the roof and floor of your mouth, the back of your throat, tongue, and cheeks, and the lymph nodes in your neck. If your doctor finds any tumor, growth, or suspicious lesions in your mouth, she/he will perform a biopsy to collect cells from a tumor. This tissue is then examined for cancerous cells. Other tests include X-rays to see if cancer cells have spread to your jaw, chest, or lungs; a CT scan to check for and reveal any tumors in your mouth; PET scan to see whether the cancer has traveled to the lymph nodes or other organs like the lungs. Prevention An excess of sun exposure on your face and lips increases the risk of oral cancer so you can start reducing the danger of getting this cancer by using a lip balm or cream with SPF regularly. Another way to reduce risk is alcohol and tobacco cessation. Eating a balanced diet containing fruits and vegetables Removing your dentures at night and using them the next day only after cleaning them Visiting your dentist on a regular basis so that she/he can warn you about any alarming change in your mouth. Treatment Oral cavity cancers are these days treated with Image-guided intensity modulated radiation therapy (IGRT with IMRT). In this form of radiation therapy, the dose of radiation is focused only to organs at risk with sparing of critical swallowing neural and speaking structures. It also saves important organs like salivary glands and eyes etc. This has a huge impact on quality of life outcomes of patients. At the very least it decreases immediate problems that occur during radiation therapy and leads to better long-term outcomes such as it decreases the risk of mouth and closure non - healing ulcers, etc.
361 people found this helpful

Oral Cancer - 7 Risk Factors You Need To Consider!

Dr. Naga Kishore Maddula 92% (104 ratings)
MS - General Surgery, M.Ch - Oncology
Oncologist, Guntur
Oral Cancer - 7 Risk Factors You Need To Consider!
Oral cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells called tumors that invade and damage the tissues surrounding it in or around the mouth. Oral cancer, like all other types of cancer, is life threatening if not diagnosed and treated in the early stages. There are eight types of oral cancer namely cancer in the throat, sinuses, hard and soft palate, floor of the mouth, gums, cheeks, tongue and lips. Dentists are usually the first ones to notice and detect the signs and symptoms of oral cancer. This condition is also known as oral cavity cancer. The risk factors and symptoms of oral cancer are mentioned below. Symptoms: The symptoms of oral cancer, especially in the first stages, seem non- threatening and similar to common oral problems. However, visiting the doctor is mandatory to rule out cancer as an option. If you suffer from one or more of the following symptoms, visit your dentist immediately. 1. Thickenings and swellings, lumps or bumps, crusts, eroded areas or rough spots on the lips, gums or surrounding regions inside or around the mouth. 2. Bleeding in the mouth that is unexplainable. 3. Persistent sores near and around the mouth or throat that bleed easily and may take more than two weeks to heal. 4. Unexplained numbness or pain and tenderness in the mouth, throat or face. 5. Development of patches which are usually speckled, red or white in the mouth. 6. Sudden weight loss. 7. Excruciating pain in your ear. 8. Loose teeth. 9. Difficulty in swallowing. 10. Lumps in your neck. 11. Stiffness or pain in your jaw. 12. Pain in your tongue. 13. Dentures that fit poorly. Risk factor: Men above 50 years of age face the greatest risk of developing oral cancer. Women are at a much lower risk of developing oral cancer than men. The following factors increase your risk of developing oral cancer- 1. Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes 2. Snuff, dips or chewing tobacco 3. Consumption of alcohol excessively 4. History of oral or other types of cancer in the family 5. Chronic sun exposure, especially facial exposure 6. Sexually transmitted virus such as HPV 7. Diagnosed of oral cancer previously.

Oral Cancer - 11 Warning Signs You Must Never Ignore!

MCh - Surgical Oncology, MS - General Surgery, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Oncologist, Bangalore
Oral Cancer - 11 Warning Signs You Must Never Ignore!
Oral cancer is the name given to cancer that develops in the tissues of the mouth or oral cavity. If you interact with a specialist, you will know that oral cancers belong to a larger group of cancers called head and neck cancers. And more importantly, oral cancers are one of the most preventable cancers. You may already be aware that cancers develop when cells begin to divide indiscriminately forming malignant tumors. In oral cancers, the dividing cells are the squamous cells found in the lining of your mouth, tongue, and lips. An implausible fact about oral cancers is that these are most often discovered after they have spread to the lymph nodes of the neck- which means at the stages III and IV. All cancers including oral cancers become more difficult to cure at these later stages. This is why early detection is key to surviving oral cancer. Types of oral cancers Oral cancers, to be precise, including cancers of the: Lips Tongue Gums Cheek Floor of the mouth Roof of the mouth, including hard and soft palate Usually, it s your dentist who is the first to notice the first signs of oral cancer. Risk factors Tobacco use is the biggest risk factor for oral cancer. Tobacco includes smoking cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, and pipes, as well as chewing tobacco. Alcohol is another big risk factor. So, if you are one of those heavy drinkers, be aware of the scourge of oral cancer and get yourself tested periodically to rule out this killer. The risk for oral cancer also increases exponentially when both alcohol and tobacco are used together. Other important risk factors are: HPV infection i.e. human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted virus that spreads through unprotected vaginal as well oral sex Chronic sun exposure on the face, especially the lips Family history of oral or other types of cancer Men are more susceptible to oral cancers Being older than 45 Radiation exposure Having any other form of head and neck cancer Symptoms of oral cancer Sore lip or mouth that is not healing Any growth inside your mouth Bleeding from the mouth, including jaws Loose teeth Difficulty or pain while swallowing Major trouble wearing dentures A lump in neck or cheek Chronic earache Serious weight loss Numbness in lower lip, face, neck, or chin Any colored patch in the mouth or lips Diagnosis of oral cancer Diagnosis starts with a physical exam of your mouth. The physician will examine the roof and floor of your mouth, the back of your throat, tongue, and cheeks, and the lymph nodes in your neck. If your doctor finds any tumor, growth, or suspicious lesions in your mouth, she/he will perform a biopsy to collect cells from a tumor. This tissue is then examined for cancerous cells. Other tests include X-rays to see if cancer cells have spread to your jaw, chest, or lungs; a CT scan to check for and reveal any tumors in your mouth; PET scan to see whether the cancer has traveled to the lymph nodes or other organs like the lungs. Prevention An excess of sun exposure on your face and lips increases the risk of oral cancer so you can start reducing the danger of getting this cancer by using a lip balm or cream with SPF regularly. Another way to reduce risk is alcohol and tobacco cessation. Eating a balanced diet containing fruits and vegetables Removing your dentures at night and using them the next day only after cleaning them Visiting your dentist on a regular basis so that she/he can warn you about any alarming change in your mouth.
4 people found this helpful

Oral And Dental Health

Dr. Darshan Parikh 92% (707 ratings)
BDS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S)
Dentist, Pune
Oral And Dental Health
Smoking or consuming smokeless tobacco is very harmful for your teeth. It can lead to various oral diseases like oral cancer, gingivitis, periodontitis and tooth decay.

Oral Cancer

Dr. Mahendra Raj 88% (219 ratings)
Bachelor of Dental Surgery, Master of Dental Surgery
Dentist, Chennai
Oral Cancer
Oral Cancer
1 person found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

My father is suffering from advance tongue cancer. He is feeling problem in taking food nowadays he is unable to take juices what can we do .Doctor wrote a cough syrup but on increasing the cough we are taking a ayurvedic medicine which decreased the coughing problem. This time he is unable to walk. He always want to sleep.

Dr. Nikhilesh Borkar 95% (237 ratings)
MBBS, M.S. General Surgery, M.R.C.S. England, M.Ch. Surgical Oncology, DNB Surgical Oncology, FEBS Surgical Oncology, DNB General Surgery, MNAMS, FMAS, FIAGES, FAIS, FICS, FEBS Breast Surgery, FACS, Fellowship IFHNOS & MSKCC USA, Fellowship in breast and oncplastic Surgery
Oncologist, Mumbai
The prognosis of advanced tongue cancer is quite poor. If need be a nasogastric tube can be inserted through nose for feeding or a PEG tube which is Inserted into stomach endoscopically. His nutrition and energy should improve with the tube feeds. Do check his electrolytes (sodium and potassium) as they may be deranged due to decreased food intake. I hope that the tumor is inoperable or metastatic hence we are not offering curative resection which gives about 50% survival. Also the life may be prolonged in locally advanced cancers of tongue by using chemotherapy or chemoradiation. Also immunotherapy with nivolumab is an option for those who can afford it (2Lac / month) which has shown to have good responses. For those who cannot afford it, metronomic chemotherapy is a good option. I hope I was able to solve your queries. Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss further or share the reports.
1 person found this helpful

Diagnosed with oral lichen planus Dr. said no need of biopsy can it lead to cancer ,what are the chances? I am having burning ulcers below the lower lip. Is biopsy necessary.

Dr. Facets 90% (321 ratings)
BDS
Dentist, Kochi
Treatment for leukoplakia, if needed, involves removing the source of irritation. If leukoplakia is caused by a rough tooth or an irregular surface on a denture or a filling, the tooth will be smoothed and dental appliances repaired. If leukoplakia is caused by smoking, you will be asked to minimize or stop smoking or using other tobacco products. Leukoplakia is usually harmless, and lesions usually clear in a few weeks or months after the source of irritation is removed. If eliminating the source of irritation is ineffective in reducing leukoplakia, the lesion may need to be surgically removed. The lesion can be removed either by an oral surgeon.

Can oral leukoplakia always turn into cancer even if tobacco is stopped. Will it regress and disappear after tobacco is stopped.In Pune were it can be surgically removed.

Dr. Isha Malhotra 93% (4723 ratings)
BDS
Dentist, Gurgaon
It takes a lot years to go away .some times it also converts to cancer. If there is strong irritation. Sometimes mouth does not open. It can be oral submucous fibrosis as well. Kindly visit dentist for clinical review.

Does oral leukoplakia always turn into cancer even if smoking and tobacco has been stopped will it regress.

Dr. Nikhilesh Borkar 95% (237 ratings)
MBBS, M.S. General Surgery, M.R.C.S. England, M.Ch. Surgical Oncology, DNB Surgical Oncology, FEBS Surgical Oncology, DNB General Surgery, MNAMS, FMAS, FIAGES, FAIS, FICS, FEBS Breast Surgery, FACS, Fellowship IFHNOS & MSKCC USA, Fellowship in breast and oncplastic Surgery
Oncologist, Mumbai
There is about 1-10% chance every year of leukoplakia turning into cancer after you have stopped tobacco, alcohol and betel nut. It is more for speckled or thick nodular leukoplakia and leukoplakia on floor of mouth and RMT. I usually observe most of the oral leukoplakia which are thin and homogenous and remove those which are speckled and thick nodular or erythroplakia. 40-45% of the leukoplakia would remain static, 40-45% would regress and about 10-20% would turn into cancer if observed.
2 people found this helpful

Health Quizzes

Cancer and Its Causes!

Dr. Ninad Katdare 90% (168 ratings)
Registrar in Surgical Oncology, Fellowship in Gynaecologic Oncology, Masters In Advanced Oncology, Fellowship in advanced laparoscopy and robotic surgery, Fellowship in Gastrointestinal Oncology, Fellowship in CRS and HIPEC, Fellowship in PIPAC
Oncologist, Mumbai
Cell phones cause cancer. True or false? Take this quiz to find out
Start Quiz
141 people took this quiz

Cancer and Diagnosis

Dr. Ninad Katdare 90% (168 ratings)
Registrar in Surgical Oncology, Fellowship in Gynaecologic Oncology, Masters In Advanced Oncology, Fellowship in advanced laparoscopy and robotic surgery, Fellowship in Gastrointestinal Oncology, Fellowship in CRS and HIPEC, Fellowship in PIPAC
Oncologist, Mumbai
Surgery will cause cancer to spread.True or False? Take this quiz to find out.
Start Quiz
158 people took this quiz

Cancer and Symptoms!

Dr. Ninad Katdare 90% (168 ratings)
Registrar in Surgical Oncology, Fellowship in Gynaecologic Oncology, Masters In Advanced Oncology, Fellowship in advanced laparoscopy and robotic surgery, Fellowship in Gastrointestinal Oncology, Fellowship in CRS and HIPEC, Fellowship in PIPAC
Oncologist, Mumbai
Mole is a sign of cancer. True or False? Take this quiz to find out.
Start Quiz
19 people took this quiz

Blood Cancer - Test Your Knowledge About Blood Cancer!

Dr. Mukul Gharote 87% (29 ratings)
MBBS, DM - Oncology, MD - General Medicine
Oncologist, Nashik
Blood cancer is characterized by a faulty production and functioning of the blood cells. Usually, blood cancer originates from the bone marrow, the place where blood is produced. Uncontrolled growth of abnormal types of the blood cells interferes with the normal blood cell development. These abnormal blood cells also prevent the blood from performing its functions properly. The following quiz will test your knowledge about blood cancer.
Start Quiz
737 people took this quiz

Know the Symptoms of Colon Cancer!

Dr. Chalapathi Rao Achanta 92% (34 ratings)
MBBS, MD-General Medicine, DM-Gastroenterology, Advanced endoscopy fellowship
Gastroenterologist, Visakhapatnam
Unintended loss of weight can be treated as a symptom of colon cancer. True or False. Take this quiz to know now!
Start Quiz
233 people took this quiz