Mouth Cancer Symptoms Questions

Mouth cancer, otherwise known as oral cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in any part of the oral cavity or oropharynx. Many oral cancers begin in the flat cells, or squamous cells that cover the inner mouth, tongue and lips.

When cancer metastasizes or spreads, it travels through the lymphatic system and is carried along by the lymph, a clear watery fluid. This causes the mouth cancer to spread to other parts of the body.

Mouth cancer is a killer of 7,000 Americans annually, which is about one person dying in the United States per hour. However, if found early, mouth cancers have a high survival rate: 80 to 90 percent.

Mouth Cancer Questions

Once a patient has been diagnosed with mouth cancer, it is completely natural to be frightened and have many questions regarding mouth cancer treatment. Therefore, one should not leave the doctor’s office without making sure that certain questions are answered.

Compiled here is a list mouth cancer questions. Newly diagnosed patients of mouth cancer may benefit from writing them down to ask their doctor:

  • What stage is my mouth cancer?Catching a cancer at its earliest stage is the best way to deal with it. Knowing which of the mouth cancer stages the patient is in will aid in the recovery.
  • Has the cancer spread beyond the primary area?The earlier the cancer is found, the easier it is to treat and the less likely it is that the cancer will have had time to spread.
  • What are my mouth cancer treatment options?Many treatment options for mouth cancer can be effective, and most doctors will recommend a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or surgery. It’s essential to find out the amount of time the treatment will require. A patient should also look into research studies and clinical trials that might help with his mouth cancer treatment.
  • What possible side effects can be expected?Unfortunately, most mouth cancer treatments result in a few side effects. A patient needs to get an idea of when these side effects may begin, and if they will get better or worse as treatment goes along. There may even be ways to relieve the side effects using another type of treatment.
  • What types of tests will I need?Mouth cancer treatment may require X-rays, scans, complete blood count (CBC) and even genetic make-up. A patient should discuss the duration and frequency of these tests with his or her doctor.
  • Is there any chance of infection?Certain types of chemotherapy can put a mouth cancer patient at the risk of a low white blood cell count, leaving an opening for infection to occur. A patient should know if he or she is at a special risk, and the signs of infection.
  • How will mouth cancer affect my daily life?Since mouth cancer is treatable at an early stage, it is quite possible to treat the cancer without sacrificing the quality of patient’s daily routine. There may be hospital stays and other plans that need to be made as well.

Resources

Caring4Cancer (2007). Questions to Ask Your Doctor. Retrieved August 15, 2007, from the Caring4Cancer Web site: http://www.caring4cancer.com/go/headneck/basics/questions-to-ask-your-doctor.htm.

Joshi, V. (2007). Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Cancer. Retrieved August 15, 2007, from the Mouth Cancer Foundation Web site: http://rdoc.org.uk/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/26510549/m/920109027.

Mayo Clinic (2007). Oral and Throat Cancer. Retrieved June 20, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/oral-and-throat-cancer/DS00349/DSECTION=2.

National Cancer Institute (2007). What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer. Retrieved June 20, 2007, from the National Cancer Institute Web site: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/oral/page3.

Oral Cancer Foundation (2007). Oral Cancer Diagnosis. Retrieved June 20, 2007, from The Oral Cancer Foundation Web site: http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/.