Apollo Cancer Centers Blog


Treatment Options for Oral Cancer by Stage and Type

Dr Sayan Paul, Dr Vikash Kumar Agarwal    |    May 20, 2022

Breast Cancer

Oral cancer is the most common cancer in males in India. Every 20 out of 1,00,000 individuals are reportedly suffering from oral cancer. Smoking and tobacco chewing is the main cause of oral cancers in India. Cancers related to the lips, tongue, cheeks, regions in the floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx are all examples of oral cancer. If not recognised and treated promptly, it can be fatal. Oral cancer can be cured completely when it is detected early. However, most people are diagnosed when their ailment is too advanced to be adequately treated. If you visit your doctor on a regular basis and learn how to recognise abnormal changes, you will have a far greater chance of receiving an early diagnosis.

What Are the Signs of Oral Cancer?

The following are the most prevalent symptoms of oral cancer:

  • Swellings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, cheeks, or other places inside the mouth
  • White, red, or mottled-white and red spots on the lips and cheeks
  • Unidentified cause of mouth bleeding.
  • Unidentified cause of numbness, loss of sensation, or pain/tenderness in any part of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Ulcers on the face, neck, or lips that bleed readily and do not heal within two weeks
  • A hurting throat or the sensation that something is lodged in the back of the throat
  • Difficulties in chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, persistent sore throat, or voice alteration
  • Ear pain

Oral cancer stages and treatment

The doctor will eventually tell the patient what stage of oral cancer they have. Simply said, the stage indicates how advanced the cancer is. Identifying the stage allows doctors to better communicate the treatment of cancer that's possible for the patient. It also assists them in deciding how to proceed with treatment, which may include surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. After the physical exam and preliminary results from the oral tissue sample and imaging tests, the doctor will assign a stage to the patient's malignancy. Mouth cancer has five stages, beginning with zero and progressing to four. (The Roman numbers I, II, III, and IV symbolize them.)
The following are the primary stages of mouth cancer:

Stage 0

Stage 0 is also known as carcinoma in situ, and it is the lowest point on the scale. It refers to cancerous cells that have developed in the lining of the lips or oral cavity.

Stage I

Stage I refers to the extremely early stages of cancer. The tumor is no larger than 2 centimeters in diameter, and the malignancy has not spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage II

A tumor in stage II is one that is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 4 cm. Cancer in stage II has not spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage III

Stage III mouth cancer is defined as cancer that is greater than 4 cm in diameter or has progressed to a lymph node in the neck.

Stage IV

The most advanced stage of oral cancer is stage IV. It could be of any size, but it has already spread to-surrounding tissue, including the jaw or other sections of the oral cavity, When mouth cancer is first diagnosed, it may be in stage IV. Cancer may reappear in the same region of the body where it first appeared (regional recurrence), in the lymph nodes (regional relapse), or in another part of the body (called distant recurrence). Tumors in stages III and IV are more likely to recur than cancers in early stages.

Oral cancer treatment

Treatment for oral cavity cancer is mostly determined by the tumor's stage (extent), although other factors can also be considered-

Oral cancers can be treated with Surgery or Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy sometimes needed along with radiation therapy when the disease is advanced. For oral cavity cancers surgery is done to remove the cancer and then in most of the cases radiation treatment is required to kill the microscopic cancer cells so that it doesn’t come back. In advanced cases and when surgery is not possible or patient is too weak for surgery, Radiation therapy and chemotherapy together is offered to cure the disease

For more advanced cancers which has spread to distant sites Chemotherapy, cetuximab, or both are commonly used. Immunotherapy combined with chemotherapy could be another possibility. Treatments such as radiation can also be used to assist ease cancer symptoms or avoid new complications.

Oral cancer treatment success rate

In India, approximately 60% of oral cancer cases have a five-year survival rate, and this number has been demonstrated to grow from 70% to 90% with simple, early detection in stages I and II. Cancer cure with various treatment modalities is dependent on the cancer stage at the time of diagnosis and when the patient begins treatment. Early detection and treatment are critical for improving survival rates for cancer patients.

What are the side effects?

Soreness, pain, or redness in the mouth and throat, loss of taste, hoarseness, and skin color change on the head and neck appearing as tanned or sunburns that go away are all side effects of the treatment.

How long does recovery take?

Depending on the severity of the sickness, it could take around three to six months.

Are the treatment's effects permanent?

No, though the cure rate is very encouraging, oral cancers do have a chance to recur in future like other cancers.

It is critical that the patient has proper follow-up care following treatment. Even if cancer appears to have been entirely eradicated or removed, the disease has a proclivity to reoccur due to undiagnosed malignant cells lingering in the body. The doctor monitors the recurrence of cancer cells on a regular basis. Your doctor will advise you to continue investigating your mouth and to have regular screening exams. He may perform a blood test, x-rays, or a full physical examination. Doctors also advise you to quit smoking and drinking alcohol completely to avoid the recurrence of mouth cancer.

Apollo Cancer Centres Approach to Cancer Treatment

Apollo Cancer Centres have ushered in international standards in cancer care wherein the focus is on early diagnosis of the ailment and adoption of structured approach for the treatment. Along with advanced diagnostics, this also involves application of molecular pathology, and organ specific tumor board approach to arrive at a consensus among clinicians on what can be the best course of treatment for the patient under the available modalities at Apollo Cancer Centres viz. Surgical Oncology, Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology & Nuclear Medicine. The Tumor Board consists of a panel of clinicians with significant experience in Medical, Surgical and Radiation oncology, who are supported by Onco-Radiologist & Histo-Pathologist to win over cancer.

At Apollo Cancer Centres, we aim to bring together the best minds in Oncology to discuss and deliberate the emerging trends in cancer management and their impact on clinical practice. Each of our patient care teams combine the skills and experience of several healthcare professionals, who specializes in diagnosing and treating a particular type of cancer associated with an organ. This has led to the development of ‘Clinical Management Teams’ (CMT). Our team members meet regularly to discuss diagnostics and treatment related support for patients, meaning that each patient benefits from a wide range of expertise. Having clinicians of many different disciplines involved in your care, ensures that you will receive the best possible treatment for your specific needs.

Oral cancer treatment cost in India

The oral cancer treatment cost in India varies depending on the stage of the cancer and hospital chosen. It also depends on the technologies used and the expertise of the healthcare providers. At Apollo Cancer Centres, we endeavour to provide best in class treatment for Oral Cancers. For pricing and cost, please write to apollocancercentres@apollohospitals.com or call us at 1800-203-1066.

Do connect with the experts at Apollo Cancer Centre for oral cancer diagnosis and treatment. Request an appointment at Apollo Cancer Centres online or by calling 1800-203-1066.

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