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Oral Cancer
Managing Dry Mouth
Many cancer patients experience dry mouth (xerostomia) as a side effect of treatment. For some, the dryness may be mild and can be relieved with a drink of water. For others, the dryness may be more severe and cause difficulty while eating and talking. A dry mouth can feel uncomfortable.
Managing Oral Mucositis
Oral mucositis occurs when the mucosal cells that line the digestive tract become swollen, irritated, and ulcerated. It can be a very troublesome and painful side effect of chemotherapy.
Coping with an Oral Cancer Diagnosis
There are very few things scarier than being told you have oral cancer. It can affect the lips, tongue, mouth, and throat.1 You may feel like you’re in shock.
How Biopsies Diagnose Oral Cancer
A biopsy is a small sample of tissue that your doctor takes from a suspicious area. A specialized doctor, called a pathologist, examines this sample under a microscope to check for cancer.
How Does My Dentist Know if I Have Oral Cancer?
Your dentist will look for signs of oral cancer during a regular exam. Oral cancer often starts as small sores or tiny white or red spots.
Important Tests That Help Evaluate Oral Cancer
These tests provide information that your health care team uses to help determine the treatment that is likely to be most effective for you. Here are some of the tests you may need to have.
Oral Cancer: Getting a Second Opinion
Before starting oral cancer treatment, patients may want to have a second doctor review their diagnosis and treatment options.
The Stages of Oral Cancer
The cancer treatment your doctor chooses will be based largely on the stage, or extent, of your cancer. The stage is based on the size of the tumor, how many lymph nodes are involved, and if the cancer has spread beyond the tumor where it started.
What Tests Help My Doctor Find Oral Cancer?
Your dentist checks for signs of oral cancer during your regular exams. Your doctor may do tests if you have these symptoms that may be caused by oral cancer.
Am I at Risk for Oral Cancer?
Most oral cancer is preventable. However, there are certain risk factors that make you more likely than others to get it.
Can I Get Checked for Oral Cancer Before I Have Symptoms?
Oral cancer may be easier to treat if it is found early. Screening tests can identify the disease even before you have symptoms.
How Can I Prevent Oral Cancer?
There are two ways to protect yourself against oral cancer. One is to avoid risky behaviors that increase your risk for the disease. The other strategy: Adopt healthy habits that lower your risk.
How Oral Cancer Spreads
Oral cancer, like all cancers, begins in cells. Healthy cells grow and divide to form new cells, which take the place of old cells that die off.
Statistics About Oral Cancer
As statistics show, oral cancer is a serious health threat. Be sure to talk with your dentist about regular screenings.
Understanding the Types of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can start in any part of the oral cavity (mouth) or oropharynx (throat). Most oral cancers develop first in the tongue or in the floor of the mouth.
What Are the Survival Rates for Oral Cancer?
Each year, about 35,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. About one-quarter of them will die from the disease.
Cancer Tied to Gum Disease
Men with a history of periodontal (gum) disease have a 14 percent higher risk for cancer than men without gum disease, a study says.
Common Side Effects After Surgery for Oral Cancer
Most people can go home within several days after surgery for oral cancer. It will most likely take you a few weeks to feel better, but prescribed medicine will help control the pain.
Making the Decision to Have Surgery for Oral Cancer
Many people with oral cancer have surgery to remove the tumor. Surgery also may include removing any lymph nodes that have cancer.
Surgery for Oral Cancer: What to Expect
Surgery is a common treatment for oral cancer. Your doctor uses surgery to remove the tumor.
The Goal of Surgery for Oral Cancer
The goal of surgery is to remove the tumor from your mouth as well as some of the healthy tissue around it. When you have surgery for oral cancer, the doctor will try to remove the tumor without harming your appearance or how your mouth functions.
A Treatment Plan for Oral Cancer
Patients usually prefer to take an active role in their treatment plans. Choices for someone with oral cancer depend on the size and location of the tumor, and the stage or extent of the disease.
Questions to Ask About Treatment for Oral Cancer
At first, the information you receive about treatment options may seem overwhelming. You may ease the stress by allowing yourself the time to gather as much information as possible about your disease and its treatment and to discuss the issues with your doctors, nurses, and loved ones.
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