The mortality rate of this cancer is fairly high due to the fact that this kind of cancer is usually detected late in the development stage. In the early stages, oral cancer is usually not detectable to individuals. You may not feel any pain or symptoms until it has developed into later stages.
Your dentist performs an oral cancer check at each visit, and many offer oral cancer screenings at their office as well. If you have not had an oral cancer screening, be sure to discuss your options with your dentist.
If you do happen to be diagnosed with oral cancer, there are several treatment options that are performed depending on the stage.
At the beginning stages of oral cancer, the cancer has not begun to grow deeper into the layers of tissue. During this stage, the oral surgeon will remove the top layer of tissue, and a small amount of normal tissue. You will need to continue scheduling follow-ups to check and make sure the cancer is not coming back.
Stages 1 and 2
In stages 1 or 2 of oral cancer, individuals will be treated with either surgery to remove the cancer or radiation therapy. Along with radiation, chemotherapy (https://www.webmd.com/cancer/chemotherapy-what-to-expect#1) may be used in order remove any cancer that may be living after radiation.
Stages 3 and 4A
During these stages of oral cancer, large cancers have developed, both in nearby tissue and to lymph nodes in the neck. When this occurs, surgery and radiation are used to remove the cancer.
Oral cancer that has developed into this stage has spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy, cetuximab or a combination of both are used to help relieve symptoms and work to prevent more problems from occurring.
For more information on oral cancer treatment, be sure to visit the American Cancer Society’s website.