Mouth cancer or oral tumours can affect various structures in the mouth such as the mucosa palate floor of the mouth, tongue, lips, gums and bones. There are various triggers or carcinogenic agents such as tobacco, alcohol, radiation and human papillomavirus, which can cause mouth cancer.
Mouth cancer occurs when carcinogenic agents act on cells altering their genetic material producing a mutation. These damaged cells can divide and multiply excessively in the body. Normally, the body controls the division and growth of cells, but if the balance of cell division and cell death is disturbed, a tumour can form. Here’s a look at the various stages of mouth cancer and treatment options at the best cancer hospitals.
There are four main T stages of mouth cancer based on the size and depth of the tumour around the area of mouth cancer. These are T1 to T4.
Biopsy, MRI / CT scan / PET Scan is done to check the stage of mouth cancer and how the tumour is progressing. Once it is diagnosed, a systemic staging is done. In this process, medical experts will check if the cancer is contained around the mouth area or if it has spread to other areas of the body. This helps in deciding the protocol of the whole treatment.
Mouth cancer treatment is specific to the stage of cancer. Every stage has different types of treatments and that’s why a patient should not be confused about treatment. They may need anything like surgery, chemotherapy or radiation depending on your diagnostic results.
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy means the mouth cancer patient is given chemotherapy first to reduce the size of the tumour before surgical treatment. Patients can further be advised for chemotherapy and radiation therapy after the surgery if required.
Any surgery for mouth cancer has three parts:
Radiation therapy includes destroying the tumour in the mouth by sending a high-energy beam towards the cancer cells. The radiations damage the DNA of the diseased cells. It is used before or after the surgery depending on the requirement and stage of mouth cancer.
Chemotherapy is a treatment method where anticancer drugs are used to destroy the cancer cells. It is used to shrink the size of cancer and sometimes it is used in combination with radiotherapy for effective cancer treatment.
These are the various treatment options for different stages of mouth cancer. Your doctor will decide the right course of treatment after a thorough diagnosis.