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Mouth Cancer Treatment

Team of oncology doctors ready to treat mouth cancer patientsMouth cancer treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, the type of treatment depends on the location and severity of the disease. More advanced mouth cancers require more intensive treatments, as they have spread farther than cancers that are caught early and can be treated through less aggressive therapies.

Most people who have mouth cancer will undergo multifaceted treatment to address their symptoms, the cancer itself, and in some cases, the side effects caused by other, more intensive treatments. An individual’s treatment plan may incorporate one or more of the following:

  • Surgery – Surgeons can remove the affected tissues to prevent further spread of the cancer. Depending on the type of mouth cancer, the surgical approach may include taking out part of the lining of the mouth, the jawbone, or other portions of the mouth (these are often replaced with prosthetics to minimize the effect on the facial structure). Sometimes, nearby lymph nodes are also removed as a precautionary measure.

  • Radiotherapy – Radiologists can carefully direct doses of radiation into a tumor to help kill the cancerous cells. Most radiation therapy is delivered from a machine outside of the body, but brachytherapy involves the insertion of a radioactive implant or “seed” near the tumor to provide temporary internal radiation. Radiotherapy can be used in conjunction with surgery.

  • Chemotherapy – Powerful medications that kill all quickly replicating cells in the body, including cancer cells, can be infused into a patient’s bloodstream or taken by mouth. It is commonly used after surgery to help kill any cancer cells that may remain after an operation, but can also be used if a patient is not a good candidate for surgical intervention.

Sometimes these approaches can have an impact on how a patient eats, drinks, and speaks. Patients may even be urged to complete all necessary dental work quickly before mouth cancer treatment begins.

Tampa General Hospital provides all of these treatments, as well as supportive services like speech pathology programs, to ensure that our patients have access to truly comprehensive care. Our staff – which includes highly experienced medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, as well as surgeons, and many others – use its specialized knowledge of head and neck malignancies to develop a treatment plan to meet each patient’s particular needs.

To learn more about the mouth cancer treatment options we offer or to find a Tampa General Hospital specialist, use our PhysicianFinder tool or call (813) 844-2200.