An Oral Cancer Diagnosis: What Happens Next
Receiving an oral cancer diagnosis can be a scary and overwhelming experience. However, it’s important to remember that early detection and treatment can greatly improve the chances of successful outcomes. In this blog, we’ll explore what happens after an oral cancer diagnosis and what patients can expect during the treatment process.
- Consultation with an Oncologist
After an oral cancer diagnosis, the patient will typically be referred to an oncologist or a specialist who specializes in the treatment of cancer. The oncologist will review the patient’s medical history, perform a physical examination, and order imaging tests or other diagnostic tests to determine the extent and stage of the cancer.
- Treatment Planning
Once the oncologist has determined the stage and extent of the cancer, they will work with the patient to develop a treatment plan. Treatment plans will vary depending on the type and stage of the cancer but may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments.
Surgery is often the first line of treatment for oral cancer. Depending on the location and extent of the cancer, surgery may involve the removal of part or all of the affected tissue, including the tumor and surrounding lymph nodes. Reconstruction surgery may also be necessary to restore the appearance and function of the mouth and throat after the cancer has been removed.
- Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be used in combination with surgery or as the primary treatment for oral cancer. The type and duration of radiation therapy will depend on the stage and extent of the cancer.
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery and/or radiation therapy to treat oral cancer. The type and duration of chemotherapy will depend on the stage and extent of the cancer.
- Rehabilitation and Support
After treatment for oral cancer, patients may need to undergo rehabilitation to help restore function and movement to the mouth and throat. Rehabilitation may include exercises, speech therapy, and/or physical therapy. Patients may also benefit from support groups or counseling to help them cope with the physical and emotional effects of cancer treatment.
Receiving an oral cancer diagnosis can be a scary and overwhelming experience. However, with early detection and treatment, the chances of successful outcomes are greatly improved. After an oral cancer diagnosis, patients will typically undergo a consultation with an oncologist, treatment planning, surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. Rehabilitation and support may also be necessary to help patients recover and cope with the effects of cancer treatment. If you’re concerned about your risk for oral cancer or have been diagnosed with oral cancer, be sure to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your treatment options and the best course of action.