Cancer is one of the most difficult diseases to live with and often makes patients feel hopeless. However, with the help of a great surgical team, combined with your fortitude, oral cancer can be defeated. Here at Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery, we take pride in giving you a strong team by your side that is with you at every stage of the treatment process. You can count on us to keep you informed and optimistic while giving you excellent care.
Preparing for Treatment
Whatever your stage and type of oral cancer, proper preparation for future treatment will improve your odds of success and decrease complications that arise after surgery and other procedures. Your mouth will need to undergo a thorough cleaning, your teeth will be assessed and cleaned, and some may be extracted to prevent future problems.
You will be strongly encourages to reduce or stop all consumption of hazardous substances like alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and chewing tobacco. Heavy smokers (of any substance) and drinkers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than those who abstain from these activities. By continuing consumption, you may exacerbate symptoms and make healing more difficult.
Methods of Oral Cancer Treatment
Oral cancer is treated through three primary methods, depending on what stage the cancer is in:
- Most cancer patients will undergo surgery to remove the tumor or affected cells. This is the oldest, most time-tested method of fighting cancer, because the mutated cells cannot spread to the rest of the body. If cells have metastasized, or spread, then full surgery might be needed to remove the cancer in its entirety.
- Radiation therapy subjects cancer cells to prolonged doses of ionizing radiation which damage their DNA, making them unable to regenerate. Radiation will damage both cancer cells and normal cells, but normal cells will be able to regenerate themselves after treatment. Radiation therapy is typically done over a period of 2-8 weeks in 10-15 minute sessions.
- Chemotherapy introduces a combination of chemicals into the body that destroy cancer cells. It has the advantage of fighting cancer that has metastasized, since chemotherapy drugs spread through the entire bloodstream. While chemotherapy may cause nausea and other symptoms, it is effective.
All these techniques may be used individually or combined to reinforce each other. Your doctors will develop the most effective treatment plan for your situation based on your needs.
Oral cancer treated in its early stages will typically have minimal post-treatment complications. Late stage cancers may require more extensive surgeries that damage parts of the face or oral cavity. These segments can be reconstructed, and therapy is encouraged to rebuild speech and chewing function. In some cases, dental or facial prosthetics are necessary.
The experienced team at Bellflower Oral Facial Surgery treats oral cancer with rigor and compassion. Call today if you may be experiencing cancer symptoms so we can schedule your consultation immediately. The earlier that oral cancer is identified, the easier it is to treat, and the shorter your treatment process might be.