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Mouth Cancer: The State-of-the-Art of Modern-Day Diagnosis and Treatment

Mouth cancer is a kind of cancer that starts developing in the mouth or throat tissues. It generally develops in the squamous cells of your mouth, lips and tongue. It is categorized under oral and oropharyngeal cancer and comes under a large cancer group referred to as head and neck cancers

Mouth cancer occurs commonly in people aged over 40. Most often, it gets diagnosed only when the disease has spread to the neck’s lymph nodes. Early diagnosis helps in getting timely mouth cancer treatment, which can be more effective than treatment given in the later stages. 

In recent days, several modern methods have been introduced for diagnosing and treating mouth cancer. In this article, let’s get to know more about the latest diagnosis and treatment methods for this kind of cancer.

Mouth Cancer Diagnosis

Doctors use several tests for diagnosing cancer. They also conduct tests to find if the disease has spread to other body parts and also to find which treatment is likely to work best. Doctors generally start by doing a physical examination during routine checkups. 

If they suspect mouth cancer, they will assess the overall health condition of the patient and get their medical history. They will talk to the patient about risk factors and symptoms. They check if there are any lumps on the cheeks, gums, lips and neck. Based on this, they will recommend appropriate diagnostic tests. 

There are many tests that are used for diagnosing mouth cancer. However, not all of these are recommended for everyone. When recommending a diagnostic test, doctors consider factors like the suspected type of mouth cancer, your symptoms, your general health & age, and the results of your previous medical tests. Here are a few tests that are generally recommended:

  • Endoscopy: This test lets a doctor examine the inside of the throat and mouth. Usually, a flexible, thin tube fixed with a view lens and light is inserted into the nose to check the neck and head areas. If the doctor finds anything suspicious, then he may suggest getting a biopsy done. 


  • Biopsy: In this test, a small amount of tissue is removed for examining under a microscope. This helps in making a definite diagnosis. 


  • Oral Brush Biopsy: This test involved using a small brush for gathering cell samples from a suspicious area. This specimen is then analysed in a laboratory. If the test results turn positive for cancer, then a traditional biopsy is done for confirming the result. 


  • HPV Testing: It is done on a tumour cell that is taken out during biopsy. If HPV is positive, it helps in determining the stage of cancer and deciding the right treatment. 


  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)/PET-CT Scan: A combination of PET scan and CT scan called PET-CT scan creates images of tissues and organs within the body, which helps in diagnosing cancer. 


  • Barium Swallow Test: This test is used to check the swallowing ability of the patient and to look into the oropharynx. Doctors look for any changes in the oral cavity structure and throat.

Besides these state-of-the-art modern-day diagnostic tests, the other common tests that help in diagnosing mouth cancer include X-ray, Computer Tomography (CT) scan,  Magnetic Resource Imaging (MRI) scan and ultrasound scan. Your doctor will review the results of the prescribed test to determine whether you have mouth cancer. 


Mouth Cancer Treatment

There are many advanced mouth cancer treatment options as per cancer research institute in India. Your doctor will decide the right treatment depending on the type of mouth cancer, its stage, and location at diagnosis. 

The latest treatment methods for mouth cancer include: 

  • Surgery: Surgery is the first line of treatment for removing the tumour. If the tumour has spread to the neck area, then too, a surgery is recommended. 


  • Radiation Therapy: This therapy is often done after surgery. It may be done alone or in combination with chemotherapy. It uses high-energy beams such as protons to kill the cancer cells.


  • Chemotherapy: Drugs are administered in this therapy for killing the cancer cells. 


  • Targeted Drug Therapy: This treatment aims at modifying specific features of the cancer cells that accelerate their growth. 

We hope you have now got to understand the advanced methods of diagnostic tests and treatment options for mouth cancer.

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