Mouth Cancer Treatment

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

October 2, 2021 Cancer Hub 350 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali العربية

What is Mouth Cancer Treatment?

Mouth Cancer Treatment or Oral Cancer treatment is the treatment of cancer that occurs inside the mouth or the oral cavity.

Without proper treatment, mouth cancer can prove to be fatal for the person.

The number of mouth cancer patients is increasing in India. However, many efforts are also being made to create awareness about cancer. Many people tend to ignore the initial signs of cancer, which can later cause severe complications. Hence, it is important to see a doctor as soon as one notices any initial symptoms related to cancer.

Treatment of mouth cancer includes surgery and therapy to prevent the recurrence of cancer.

Let us tell you in detail about mouth cancer and its treatment in today’s article.

  • What are the types of Mouth Cancer?
  • What are the symptoms of Mouth Cancer?
  • What are the causes and risk factors of Mouth Cancer?
  • How to Prevent Mouth Cancer?
  • How to diagnose Mouth Cancer?
  • What are the various Mouth Cancer Treatments?
  • What are the complications of Mouth Cancer Surgery?
  • What is the cost of Mouth Cancer Treatment in India? 

What are the types of Mouth Cancer?

Mouth cancer can affect the tissues in the mouth. Mouth cancer will include the following types of cancers:

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Gums     ( Know more about- Remedies to Strengthen Gums )
  • The inner lining of the cheeks
  • Palate (roof of the mouth)
  • The floor of the mouth (under the tongue)

What are the symptoms of Mouth Cancer?

The early signs and symptoms of mouth cancer can often be confused with other problems. The following symptoms may be associated with mouth cancer-

  • White or red colored patches in the mouth
    • Difficulty in swallowing
    • Painful swallowing
    • Sudden weight loss
    • Chronic blisters in the mouth
    • Increased swelling in the throat
    • Unusual signs of bleeding from the mouth
    • Burning sensation while eating spicy food ( Know more about- Benefits and Risks of Eating Spicy Food )
    • Mobile teeth
    • Tongue pain
    • Ear pain
    • A growth or a lump is seen inside the mouth
    • The appearance of rubbery cheeks
    • Trouble in wearing dentures
    • Face, neck, lower lip, or chin numbness
    • Sore throat ( Know more about- What is Throat Cancer? )
    • Jaw stiffness
    • Jaw pain

Some of the above symptoms like ear pain or sore throat may indicate the presence of some other disorders. If one notices one or more of the above symptoms it is important to visit the doctor or a dentist immediately.

What are the causes and risk factors of Mouth Cancer?

There can be many causes for the development of mouth cancer. Some of the causes are:

  • Oral cancer can occur due to the weakening of the person’s immune system. A weak immune system results in frequent infections and other problems.
  • Tobacco consumption is the main cause of mouth cancer. Apart from this, some people who consume excessive tobacco or smoke cigarettes are at higher risk of getting mouth cancer.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol causes mouth cancer. Limited alcohol consumption does not cause any severe problems. But if a person is a chronic drinker, he is at a higher risk of developing mouth cancer as well as liver failure.
  • Excessive consumption of canned food or oily food can increase the risk of mouth cancer. Hence, individuals should include healthy foods like green vegetables, legumes, nuts, etc. in their diets. 

Some of the other risk factors for developing mouth cancer are:

  • Mouth cancer can also happen to people who have the human papillomavirus /HPV (sexually transmitted infection). That’s why a person should get tested for this virus.
  • Exposure of the face to the sun for a long period can lead to mouth cancer.
  • A person having a history of oral cancer is more likely to develop the condition again.
  • A family history of oral cancer or other types of cancer can increase the chances of individuals developing mouth cancer.
  • Males are known to have a higher chance of developing oral cancer as compared to females.
  • Poor nutrition can increase the chances of developing oral cancer. ( Know more about- How to Gain Immunity? )

How to Prevent Mouth Cancer?

Some of the precautionary measures one may take to avoid mouth cancer include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Stop any kind of tobacco consumption
  • Stop alcohol consumption or drink in moderation
  • Eat food that is rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Avoid exposure to the sun for a long time
  • Go for regular bi-annual dental check-ups

How to diagnose Mouth Cancer?

The dentist or the doctor first does an oral examination to see the oral findings which may indicate the presence of mouth cancer. The doctor also notes the patient’s medical history, along with the family history.

The doctor may recommend the following tests to confirm the diagnosis of mouth cancer-

  • Biopsy
  • FNAC
  • X-ray
  • OPG
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • PET scan
  • Endoscopy   ( Know more about- What is Endoscopy? )

What are the various Mouth Cancer Treatments?

Mouth cancer is treated in the following ways depending on the symptoms of the patient and the location, type, and stage of cancer.

The different types of mouth cancer treatments are:

Surgery:

  • The treatment for the early stages of mouth cancer is the surgical removal of the tumor.
  • Surgery may include the removal of the cancerous lymph nodes and other tissues around the neck and the mouth.

Radiotherapy:

  • Radiation therapy is used to destroy cancer cells.
  • It is usually done after surgery to prevent recurrence with medications.
  • The doctor gives radiation beams at the tumor site one or two times a day.
  • The treatment may extend for several weeks, depending on the size of the tumor.

Chemotherapy:

  • Chemotherapy is a procedure of administration of certain medications either orally or through the intravenous (IV) line.
  • Chemotherapy is sometimes done in combination with radiotherapy in advanced stages of cancer. This is done to damage the DNA of cancer cells, eliminating their ability to divide and grow into deeper tissues. (Read more – Why is chemotherapy done)
  • Chemotherapy is usually done on an outpatient basis. However, some advanced cases may require hospitalization. ( Know more about- What is Chemotherapy?)

Internal radiotherapy:

  • Internal radiotherapy, also called brachytherapy, involves placing a radioactive implant inside a tumor under GA, usually in the early stages of cancer.

Photodynamic therapy:

  • This therapy is done at an early stage when likely untreated or recurrent mouth ulcers are turning into cancer.
  • This can be considered as a temporary treatment procedure.

Targeted therapy:

  • Targeted therapy can be done in the early, as well as advanced stages of cancer.
  • The target therapy drugs bind to the specific proteins on the cancer cells and affect their growth.

Maintaining a healthy diet and having good dental hygiene during mouth cancer treatment is extremely crucial.

What are the complications of Mouth Cancer Surgery?

The recovery period and symptoms differ depending on the type of treatment done.

The removal of small tumors may be associated with pain and swelling post-surgery, but, in most cases, do not have long-term side effects.

The removal of large tumors may have long-term complications like the inability to talk, chew, or swallow food in the same way as before the surgery. The patient may also require reconstructive surgery, later on, to rebuild the tissues and bones on the face which may have been removed during the tumor removal surgery.

Some of the complications associated with radiation therapy are:

  • Decay of teeth
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding gums or painful gums
  • Dry mouth
  • Jaw pain and stiffness
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of weight
  • Changes in thyroid functions
  • Dryness or burning of the skin
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Problems in wearing dentures
  • Oral infections
  • Skin infections

Chemotherapy can have the following complications:

  • Loss of hair
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding in mouth
  • Severe anemia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in gums
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore lips
  • Sore mouth
  • Numbness of hands and feet

Complications associated with other types of mouth cancer treatments include-

  • Fever
  • Skin rashes
  • Allergic reactions
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What is the cost of Mouth Cancer Treatment in India? 

The total cost of mouth cancer treatment in India can range from around INR 3,50,000 to INR 5,00,000. There are many doctors in India who specialize in mouth cancer treatment, but the cost varies among different hospitals. 

If you are coming from abroad, apart from the cost of the mouth cancer treatment itself, there will be an additional cost of staying in a hotel, the cost of living, and the cost of local travel. After the surgery, the patient is kept in the hospital for three days and in the hotel for seven days for recovery. So, the total cost of mouth cancer treatment in India comes from a total of INR 4,00,000 to INR 6,00,000. 

We hope that we could answer all your questions regarding the treatment of mouth cancer through this article.

If you have any further queries regarding Mouth Cancer and its treatment, contact an Oncologist. Do not ignore the early symptoms of cancer and get treatment at the right time.

We only aim to provide you with information through this article. We do not recommend any medicine or treatment to anyone. Only a qualified doctor can give you good advice and the correct treatment plan.

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