Mouth cancer is a type of
cancer in which cancer cells may originate and grow within a number of areas around the mouth and
neck. It is usually treated with surgery followed by radiation
treatment. However it has been found that the application of
mouth cancer chemotherapy treatments may help to make the radiation treatment more effective. It can also be a very good way to address the cancer in several different
ways. We will discuss these aspects in further
When mouth cancer chemotherapy is used,
special drugs which are designed to kill cancer cells may be administered to the body either orally and through an
intravenous dose. When this occurs the drugs are able to travel
through the bloodstream until they encounter the cancer cells. These
drugs react with cells which have rapid growth rates. Since cancer
cells tend to grow very rapidly this is a very good way to find and destroy cancer cells.
In the case of mouth cancer, the drugs are
able to reach the site where cancer is growing and expanding. Over
time it can shrink the tumor and improve the effectiveness of treatment. But the most common type of treatment for mouth cancer is surgical excision of
the cancerous mass.
Once the cancer tissues have been removed,
chemotherapy may be used to seek out and destroy any remaining cancer cells. This is very important because there is a higher incidence of the cancer
returning if existing cancer cells remain within the body.
This type of treatment can also be helpful in
addressing large tumors which can form in and around the mouth and neck. The mouth cancer chemotherapy can be used to shrink larger tumors before
surgery. A small more localized tumor can be easier to remove and
Since the drugs used in chemotherapy tend
affect both cancerous tissue and healthy tissue there are a number of important side effects to be
aware. Because these drugs can also attack fast growing healthy cells,
it can affect the hair cells and tissue which lines the inside of the stomach. A patient may experience undesirable side effects such as falling hair, nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue.
In order to help minimize these side effects
the drugs may be administered gradually in order to give the body a chance to recover and heal. And there have been some new advances in delivery systems which can get the right
anti-cancer drug directly to the cancer tissue and avoid affecting otherwise healthy tissue.
This can improve the effectiveness by
increasing dosage and minimizing the unwelcome side effects. It is
also not as necessary to stretch out the treatments for so long.
Mouth cancer chemotherapy can also be useful
for more advanced stages when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. In this case surgical procedures would have little effect since so much more
cancer is now present in different parts of the body. But the
anti-drug compounds can be used to find cancer cells throughout the body.
As with many other advanced forms of cancer
it would be difficult to use this treatment to stop, reverse or cure the disease. However it can be very helpful slowing the progression of the disease and
improving the long term prognosis and quality of life of the cancer sufferer.