If you have been diagnosed with oral cancer, your doctor may suggest several different treatment options, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a treatment called targeted therapy. Your doctor may suggest one of these options or may recommend that you do two options together.
For example, if your cancer is considered to be in its early stages and the tumor is small enough, you may undergo surgery to remove the tumor. In other cases of early oral cancer, radiation (using radioactive, high-energy rays to destroy the tumor cells) may be the better choice.
If the oral cancer is in its later stages, the doctor (or team of specialists) may suggest a combination of radiation and chemotherapy, in which powerful drugs are injected into your bloodstream. The drugs kill the cancer cells but can also damage normal cells in your body.
Finally, you may end up having targeted therapy as part of your treatment. Targeted therapy means that you are taking a drug that only harms the cancer cells. Targeted therapy is usually used in addition to chemotherapy or radiation, not instead of these options.
Your doctor and specialists will explain to you which of the options may work for you, and together you will come up with a treatment plan.