Font Size

Cancer of the Mouth and Throat (cont.)

Are There Clinical Trials for Oral Cancer?

As with other types of cancers, some patients may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial as part of their treatment plan. These are medically supervised studies that evaluate new treatments or new combinations of treatments.

When Is Follow-up Needed After Treatment of Mouth and Throat Cancer?

After surgery, the patient will see the surgeon, radiation oncologist, or both if he or she has received chemotherapy. The patient will also follow-up with the medical oncologist.

The patient will also continue to see the medical oncologist according to a schedule he or she will recommend.

  • The patient may go through staging tests after completing treatment to determine how well the treatment worked and if he or she has any residual cancer.
  • Thereafter, at regular visits, the patient will undergo physical examination and testing to make sure the cancer has not come back and that a new cancer has not appeared.
  • At least five years of follow-up care is recommended, and many people choose to continue these visits indefinitely.
  • The patient should report any new symptoms to the oncologist immediately. The patient should not wait for the next visit.

Speech and swallowing therapy will continue for as long as needed to restore these functions.

Is It Possible to Prevent Mouth and Throat Cancer?

The best way to prevent head and neck cancer is to avoid the risk factors.

  • If the patient uses tobacco, he or she should quit. Substituting "smokeless" tobacco for smoking is not advised. Pipe and cigar smoking are not safer than cigarette smoking.
  • If the patient drinks alcohol, he or she should do so in moderation. The patient should not use both tobacco and alcohol.
  • If the patient works outdoors or is otherwise frequently exposed to sunlight (ultraviolet radiation), he or she should wear protective clothing that blocks the sun. Sunscreen should be applied to the face (including a lip balm with sunscreen) and the patient should wear a wide-brimmed hat any time he or she is outdoors.
  • Sources of oral irritation, such as ill-fitting dentures, should be avoided. If the patient wears dentures, he or she should remove and clean them every day. A dentist should check their fit regularly.
  • The patient should eat a balanced diet to avoid vitamin and other nutritional deficiencies. He or she should make sure to eat foods with plenty of vitamin A, including fruits, vegetables, and supplemented dairy products.

    The patient should not take very high doses of vitamin A supplements, which may actually be harmful.

The patient should ask his or her dentist or primary care professional to check their oral cavity and pharynx regularly to look for precancerous lesions and other abnormalities. The patient should report any symptoms such as persistent pain, hoarseness, bleeding, or difficulty swallowing.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/13/2017

Must Read Articles Related to Cancer of the Mouth and Throat

18 Cancer Symptoms
Cancer Symptoms Most symptoms and signs of canc...learn more >>
Cancer: What You Need to Know
Cancer: What You Need to Know Cancer is a common and deadly disease, and it's surrounded by myths. There are certain basics a patient needs to know when they're confronted with a learn more >>
Chemotherapy Chemotherapy or "chemo" is a treatment for cancer. Depending on the type of cancer an individual has, it can cure cancer, control cancer. or ease cancer symptom...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Cancer of the Mouth and Throat:

Mouth and Throat Cancer - Symptoms and Signs

What are the symptoms and signs of your mouth and throat cancer?

Mouth and Throat Cancer - Diagnosis

How was your mouth and throat cancer diagnosed?

Mouth and Throat Cancer - Treatment

What was the treatment for your mouth and throat cancer?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Cancers of the Oral Mucosa »

Approximately 90% of oral cancers are squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which is seen in older men, typically on the lip or lateral part of the tongue.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary