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Oral Cancers

The Basics of Oral Cancer



Anatomy

Understanding the Anatomy When discussing oral cancer, you should start by understanding the anatomy. This illustration shows different parts of the oral cavity, or the mouth. Basically, the mouth goes from the pink part of the lips back to the bony roof of your mouth and to the part of the tongue you can see […]

Causes

Causes of Oral Cancer As with most cancers, doctors can’t tell you with certainty what causes oral cancer. It’s a combination of genetic predisposition and factors in your environment. Tobacco: This is the most common factor contributing to oral cancers. Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes and using chewing tobacco greatly increase your chance of getting […]

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer For cancers in the mouth, you, your dentist or your general doctor can actually see or feel something abnormal in most cases. This is different from cancers in other parts of the head and neck, which can remain hidden for some time. Symptoms to watch for include: Painful sores […]

Doctor’s Visit

What to Expect at Your Doctor’s Visit Step 1: History First, your head and neck specialist will take a thorough history of your health and address any specific concerns you may have. Your doctor might ask questions such as: How long has the problem been there? Is it getting worse, better or staying the same? […]

Diagnosis

Diagnosing Oral Cancer Getting to a diagnosis begins with a history and physical examination. If the symptoms haven’t been present for very long, or if the history and physical examination make the doctor less suspicious that your lesion is cancer, your doctor might try some medications and rehabilitation before jumping to a diagnosis of cancer. […]

Type of Cancer

Determining the Type of Oral Cancer Only after a pathologist analyzes some cells or actual pieces of tissue from the lesion will your doctor be able to tell you if you have cancer. Your doctor and pathologist should specialize in oral cancers because some benign (non-cancerous) lesions can look like cancer on a small biopsy. […]

Grade of the Tumor

Determining the Grade of the Tumor Squamous cell cancers of the oral cavity are typically given a grade by a pathologist after looking at the cells under a microscope. Grade means that the tumor falls on a scale from well differentiated (Grade I) to poorly differentiated (Grade IV). Even though there are some studies that […]

Stage of the Cancer

Determining the Stage of the Cancer

Treatment Plan

Deciding on a Treatment Plan Your doctors will typically use National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology(NCCN Guidelines®) for Head and Neck Cancers, as well as their own professional experience, to decide on the appropriate treatment course. If these guidelines are not followed, they will discuss it with you and explain why your […]

Prognosis

Determining your Prognosis Your prognosis is a prediction of the outcome of your disease. What is the risk of succumbing to the cancer or the risk of its coming back? These are the big questions on most people’s minds after receiving a diagnosis of oral cancer. In general, doctors know there are several characteristics of […]

After Treatment

What to Expect After Treatment is Completed Once you have made it through treatment, you need to have close follow-up with your doctor. The current NCCN Guidelines® for Head and Neck Cancers recommend this follow-up plan after being treated for an oral cancer Visit your head and neck specialist on a regular schedule (or earlier […]

References
References

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22 Referenced with permission from The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Head and Neck Cancers V.2.2016. © National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc 2016. All rights reserved. Accessed November 9, 2016. To view the most recent and complete version of the guideline, go online to www.NCCN.org. The NCCN Guidelines are a work in progress that may be refined as often as new significant data becomes available. The NCCN Guidelines are a statement of consensus of its authors regarding their views of currently accepted approaches to treatment. Any clinician seeking to apply or consult any NCCN Guidelines is expected to use independent medical judgment in the context of individual clinical circumstances to determine any patient’s care or treatment. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever regarding their content, use or application and disclaims any responsibility for their application or use in any way.

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