Can mouth cancer be treated?
The good news is – yes! Mouth cancer can be treated, and when diagnosed early, treatment has a 90% success rate.
Your treatment will depend on the stage and grade of the cancer, as well as your general health. The main aim of treatment is to remove and destroy the cancer, and your doctors will also try to reduce the long-term effects of treatment. You may only need one type of treatment, but sometimes 2 or more treatments are given.
Surgery is often the only treatment needed to remove early-stage mouth cancer. The surgeon removes the cancer and a small area of normal tissue around the lesion or tumour, leaving less chance of cancerous cells being left behind.
Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells, while doing as little harm as possible to healthy cells. This treatment is sometimes given instead of surgery to treat early-stage mouth cancers, or in conjunction with surgery in more advanced cases.
Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. This treatment can be given before surgery or radiotherapy to shrink the cancer, or to treat any cancer that has spread or come back after earlier treatment.
The type of treatment that a patient with mouth cancer requires would be dependent on a range of factors, such as how progressed the cancer is alongside other lifestyle factors, and would be confirmed by the doctor at an early appointment.