Oral Cancer Treatment in India

Last Modified: May 1, 2020  |   Created on: January 19, 2017

“The average cost of oral cancer treatment in India is $6000. The mouth cancer treatment hospitals in India promise unparalleled health treatments at low-cost packages.

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Each year, thousands of patients from around the world travel to India to get treated for oral cancer. The medical staff in India is highly experienced in handling all forms of cancer cases and the hospitals are equipped to handle any kind of emergency. All these state-of-the-art facilities at the nominal cost are one of the major reasons why people travel thousands of miles to get themselves treated in India.

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Overview of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is diagnosed in more than a million people each year. It is also known as oral cavity cancer or mouth cancer. The disease manifests itself in the parts of mouth and throat and comes under the category of head and neck cancer. It is an umbrella term, which includes cancer of the cheek, gums, lips, tongue, throat, sinuses, the floor of the mouth and palate. Cancer may affect either one of these parts of the mouth or a combination of them. It is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage when it has spread to other organs of the body, particularly the lymph nodes. Therefore, it is important to timely diagnose oral cancer to save the life of the patient and control further spread of cancer.

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Lyfboat is a free advisory platform; we do not charge any fees from patients. In fact, we negotiate the price that Indian hospitals offer. In some cases we are able to reduce the cost by negotiating upto 20% of what Hospitals generally offer. We advise the best treatment from the top hospital/surgeon at best price.

What are the symptoms of Oral Cancer?

The first signs of oral cancer are often noticed by a dentist. Therefore, it is necessary to go to a dentist regularly for oral health maintenance in case you suspect oral cancer. You are advised to visit a dentist or a doctor in case you observe anyone or a combination of the following symptoms, especially when they don’t go away with time or reoccur again and again:

  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Coloured patches in mouth (red, white or combination of both)
  • Constant pain in ear
  • Lump in the throat
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Numbness in the face, lips or cheek
  • Mass of cells or growth around the mouth or neck
  • Sore lips, mouth or neck that bleed for more than 2 weeks
  • Pain or tenderness in any area of the face
  • Difficulty in fitting dentures
  • Change in voice
  • A chronic sore throat

What are the causes of Oral Cancer?

Following are the risk factors for Oral Cancer:

Tobacco use is considered to be one of the biggest risk factors associated with the development of oral cancer. It is a broad category of risk factor that includes tobacco chewing, smoking pipes, cigars and cigarettes. People who regularly drink alcohol or smoke tobacco are at an increased risk of mouth cancer than those who do that occasionally or do not indulge in such activities at all. Other factors that are believed to contribute to the development of oral cancer include:

  • Family history of any type of cancer is also believed to be one of the risk factors behind development of oral cancer

  • Previous history of oral cancer

  • Chronic exposure to the sun

  • Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually-transmitted virus, may also increase the risk of oral cancer

In addition to the above factors, males are more likely to develop oral cancer than females. The clear reason behind this is not understood. Overall, a person who smokes six times more likely to develop mouth cancer. On the other hand, smokeless tobacco users are 50 times more likely to develop cancer of the lips, cheek or gums. Despite all the risk factors, almost 25 percent of oral cancer cases still affect people who do not chew or smoke tobacco and those who drink only occasionally.

What are the stages of Oral Cancer?

There are four stages of oral cancer.

Stages 1 and 2 of oral cancer are characterised by the presence of a small tumour and the cancer cells are not yet spread to the lymph nodes.

In Stages 3 and 4 of oral cancer, the tumour is large and the cancer cells have typically spread to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body Early diagnosis is the key to survival in case of oral cancer as survival rate tend to fall quickly with the lapse of time.

How to diagnose the Oral Cancer?

The best time for oral cancer diagnosis is as soon as you notice any of the signs and symptoms associated with oral cancer. A typical mouth cancer diagnosis starts with a dentist or a doctor conducting an exam of the oral cavity. This essentially includes an oral cancer screening exam. It will be followed by a physical exam to check for any lumps or irregularity in the mouth, oral cavity, neck, throat and head. The doctor may specifically look for sores and any type of discolouration the in the mouth. In addition, any other signs may also be looked for.

In case the dentist identifies a suspicious site in the oral cavity or a discoloured tissue, he or she may want to conduct a biopsy of a piece of tissue derived from the identified location. This painless procedure is also known as brush biopsy, in which some cells are scraped off from the oral cavity site and the cells are observed under a microscope to check for cancerous cells. In some cases, a procedure called scalpel biopsy is conducted to confirm the diagnosis.

In addition to the aforementioned exams, the following tests may be conducted to confirm oral cancer diagnosis:

  • X-ray: An X-ray examination may be conducted to check whether cancer cells have spread to other locations, particularly jaws, lungs and chest.

  • CT scan: A CT scan is sometimes conducted to check for the growth of tumour cells in the throat, neck, mouth, lungs or any other location.

  • MRI: An MRI scan may be conducted to check for the extent of cancer.

  • PET: A PET scan helps confirm whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or anywhere else.

  • Endoscopy: This diagnostic procedure helps check sinuses, inner throat, nasal passage, trachea and the windpipe for the spread of cancer.

How to get the Oral Cancer Treatment?

Oral cancer treatment typically involves the same procedures that are used to remove the tumorous growth in any other form of cancer. Usually, a surgery is conducted to remove the cancerous growth from the oral cavity, mouth, face, cheeks, throat or any other part of the neck. The surgeons may take out the tissue surrounding the mouth and the neck during the surgery as well. Surgery is typically recommended for the treatment of early stage cancers. For the advanced form of oral cancer, a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy is advised.

Following are the methods to get oral cancer treatment:

Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill the cancer cells. The drugs are either injected intravenously or given orally to the patient. This may be conducted as an outpatient procedure or the patient may be asked to stay in the hospital for a day or two.

Radiation therapy makes use of high-dose radiation to kill the cancer cells. The cells are directly targeted with radiation one or twice a day for at least five days a week. This treatment continued for a period of a few weeks, usually between 8 and 9 weeks.

Targeted therapy is another form of treatment in which specific drugs directly target the cancer cells by controlling the protein synthesis. As a result, the growth and multiplication of cancer cells are impaired.

How to prevent from Oral Cancer?

Ways to prevent Mouth Cancer:

The key to reducing the incidence of oral cancer is to prevent it completely at the first place. This can be done by maintaining proper oral health and changing a little bit of your lifestyle-related habits. In addition, it is important to conduct a self-exam regularly in case you know that you are at an increased risk of oral cancer. A self-exam can be conducting by standing in front of a mirror and looking at the inside of the mouth, the oral cavity, gums, throat, lips and inner cheeks. Look for any discoloration, internal bleeding, a lining of cheeks, bleeding gums, mass or lumps. Lastly, it is important to visit a dentist regularly for an oral exam. A dentist is usually to identify the first signs of an abnormality with respect to oral cancer. A good dentist can always contribute towards oral cancer prevention by advising their patients about how to maintain oral health.

Frequently asked Questions (FAQs) about Mouth Cancer Treatment in India

Q. What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer starts in the mouth or oral cavity. It is a common type of cancer. It is very much curable if treated early.

Q. What are the different types of oral cancer tumors?

Types of oral cancer are following:

  • Squamous cell carcinomas

  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma

  • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma

  • Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma

Q. How does smoking affect oral cancer?

Tobacco use is the most important risk factor of oral cancer. People who smoke or chew tobacco, dip snuff, or smoke pipes have a much higher chance of getting oral cancer than people who do not use tobacco.

Q. What are the survival rates of Mouth Cancer?

Overall, 81 percent of all oral cancer patients are likely to survive in the first year of their diagnosis, irrespective of the cancer stage. The 5-year and 10-year survival rates for such patients is 56 percent and 41 percent.

Q. How long is the hospital stay after oral cancer surgery?

This depends on the type of surgery, the part, and how much of the oral cavity was removed. Typically, patients have to stay for a few days in the hospital. After the discharge, patients usually need some special care during recovery from surgery.

Q. How long does oral cancer treatment last?

The length of treatment for oral cancer may vary depending on several factors, such as type and stage of cancer, the type of treatment, goals of treatment, and many others. 

For instance, small cancer on the lip can be surgically removed, but if the cancer is later discovered to have spread to other areas or lymph nodes, other treatment options may also be recommended.

Q. What are the side effects of oral cancer treatment?

Cancer treatment methods aim to remove or damage normal cells (chemotherapy and radiation). There can be certain side effects from such treatments, including mouth sore, nausea, and hair loss. The doctors will help manage the side effects with medication, which helps prevent or control them.

After oral cancer surgery, the patient may have to be extra careful while adjusting to new ways of using oral muscles for eating, drinking, speaking, and breathing.

Q. How is oral cancer associated with human papillomavirus (HPV)?

Many studies have reported the Human papillomavirus (HPV) to be associated with an increasing number of cancers of the oropharynx, a part of the throat. However, oropharynx cancer and oral cavity cancer are not the same and HPV may only cause a very small number of oral cancers.

Best Oral Cancer Doctors in India 

The Indian oral cancer surgeons have an experience of working with some of the best hospitals in the world. The international exposure makes it easier for them to understand the mindset of the patient traveling to a foreign land for oral cancer treatment. That is what makes them so compassionate and caring towards them.

Moreover, oral cancer surgeons keep themselves abreast as per the latest advancements in the field of cancer. They attend conferences, seminars, and workshops around the world to make sure that they are at par, if not behind, with other surgeons in the world.

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