Oral cavity cancer

What is oral cavity cancer?
Oral cavity cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that affects the mouth. It includes the lips, the front two-thirds of the tongue, the gums, the lining inside the cheeks and lips, the floor (bottom) of the mouth under the tongue, the hard palate (roof of the mouth), and the small area of the gum behind the wisdom teeth.

What causes oral cavity cancer?
It’s not clear what exactly causes this type of cancer but several factors have been identified that increase the risk of developing it:
• Smoking tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, and shisha (water pipe). Heavy smokers are most at risk
• Heavy use of alcohol
• Poor oral hygiene and missing teeth

Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean that a person will definitely get oral cancer but can increase their chances of developing it.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
• Unusual pain or bleeding in the mouth
• Sores on the tongue, lining of the mouth or gums
• Pain or swelling in the jaw
• Pain in the teeth, or loose teeth

How is oral cancer diagnosed?
In order to accurately diagnose and stage oral cancer, your physician may order the following tests:
• MRI scan to get a complete image of your head and neck to determine whether there are any tumors or abnormal cells
• PET scan to find any malignant cancer cells
• CT scan to get a complete image of your head and neck to determine whether there are any tumors or abnormal cells
• Biopsy to remove any tissue from the nose or sinuses and examine closely under a microscope for any abnormalities
• Chest x-ray to detect any spread of the tumor to the lungs
• Head and neck x-rays

How is oral cancer treated at KHCC?
The treating physician will present the case to the MDC panel who will determine the right treatment for the patient depending on how much the cancer has spread throughout the body.
At KHCC, the treatment plan for oral cancer depends on many factors, such as the patient’s age, and the stage of the disease as well as the size of the tumor. Typically, treatment includes varying degrees of surgery, radiotherapy and some chemotherapy.

At KHCC, oral cancer patients receive top quality care through a multidisciplinary team of head and neck cancer specialists that is entirely devoted to diagnosing and treating cancers of the head and neck.

Supportive Care
The Head and Neck multidisciplinary clinic works in close cooperation with other departments at KHCC so that oral cancer patients receive the most comprehensive care possible. Supportive care services at KHCC include: