Oral cancer is usually detected during a routine medical or dental examination.
The medical care provider should check for indications of oral cancer during regular exams. The patient should also inform their treatment provider if they have noticed any symptoms.
Dr. Landon D. McLain provides oral surgery to patients in Huntsville, Madison, Florence, Decatur, Scottsboro, Cullman, Athens, Alabama, and surrounding locations.
Diagnostic Exams and Tests
If the doctor suspects oral cancer, they will order certain exams and tests to be certain. They will ask the patient about their health history, symptoms, risk factors, and family history of the disease.
They will also perform an oral exam, which involves looking at the patient’s head or neck and checking inside the mouth. The healthcare provider may also view the back of the patient’s mouth and throat with small mirrors or with a flexible, lighted tube.
This tube is known as a laryngoscope or a pharyngoscope. On the basis of the outcomes, the medical care provider may decide whether the patient requires a biopsy to check for cancer.
A biopsy is the only definitive way to detect cancer. Tiny pieces of tissue are removed and assessed for cancer cells. The results will come back in around one week.
Following an oral cancer diagnosis, the patient will likely require other tests. These help the doctor understand more about the patient’s cancer.
The stage is determined based on how much and how far cancer has spread (metastasized) in the body. When deciding how to treat cancer, this is one of the most important factors to assess.
After the cancer is assigned a stage, the medical care provider will speak to the patient about what the stage means for their treatment. The patient should ask their medical care provider to explain the stage of their cancer in a manner that they can comprehend.
How is Oral Cancer Treated?
The treatment options will depend on the type of oral cancer that the patient has, test results, and the stage of cancer. The objective of the treatment may be to cure the disease, control cancer, or help ease issues caused by cancer.
The patient should discuss their treatment options, the objectives of the treatment, and the risks and side-effects associated with the treatment with their medical care team. Other factors to be assessed are whether cancer can be eliminated with surgery and the patient’s general health condition.
Cancer treatments can be either local or systemic. Local treatments, eliminate, destruct, or control cancer cells in one region. Radiation and surgery are local treatments. Surgery is a common treatment for oral cancer.
Systemic treatment destructs or controls cancer cells that may have spread through the body. Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment when taken by pill or injection. The patient may undergo only one treatment or a combination of treatments.
The treatment of oral cancer may include:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Supportive care
Patients should consult their medical care provider regarding their treatment options. They should prepare a list of questions beforehand while thinking about the benefits and potential side effects of each alternative.
Coping with Oral Cancer
Many individuals feel depressed, worried, and stressed when trying to cope with cancer. Undergoing cancer treatment can be hard on the mind and body. Patients should keep talking to their medical team about any issues or concerns that they may have.
Dr. Landon D. McLain receives patients from Huntsville, Madison, Florence, Decatur, Scottsboro, Cullman, Athens, Alabama, and nearby areas for oral surgery.
McLain Surgical Arts is a leading cosmetic plastic surgery practice headed by Dr. Landon D. McLain MD, DMD, FACS in Huntsville, AL. Dr. McLain is a double board certified cosmetic and oral & maxillofacial surgeon, offering a variety of procedures such as dental implants, wisdom teeth extraction, breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, tummy tuck, facelift, Botox, and laser skin resurfacing. For more information or to schedule a consultation call 256.429.3411 or click here.
Now taking patients from Huntsville, Scottsboro, Decatur, Madison, Athens, Florence, Cullman, AL and surrounding areas.