Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer Facts

In India oral cancer is the most common cancer in men and women both
Oral cancer is most often found in the tongue, the lips and the floor of the mouth. It also can begin in the gums, the minor salivary glands, the lining of the lips and cheeks, the roof of the mouth or the area behind the wisdom teeth.
Chances of successfully treating oral cancer are highest when it is found early. Our team of experts in the Oral Premalignancy Clinic works closely together to detect and diagnose oral cancer in its early stages.

Oral Cancer Diagnosis

Since early diagnosis improves your chances for successful treatment, it’s important for oral (mouth) cancers and pre-cancerous lesions to be found as soon as possible. Basil Oncocare team uses the most advanced techniques and technology to determine if a tumor is benign (not cancer), pre-cancer or cancer.

1) Direct Torch ligh examination by specialist

If you have symptoms that may indicate cancer, we will examine the inside of your cheeks and lips, the floor and roof of the mouth, the tongue and the lymph nodes in your neck. This is the first and most important part of your initial examination.
If your doctor suspects you may have oral cancer, one or more of the following tests may be used to find out if you have cancer and if it has spread.

2) Biopsy

If any abnormalities are discovered during the exam, a small tissue sample, or biopsy, usually is taken. This biopsy is important, as it is the only sure way to know if the abnormal area is cancer. A biopsy may be obtained by:

Brush biopsy or exfoliative cytology:

This relatively new type of biopsy is painless and does not require anesthetic. The dentist or doctor rotates a small stiff-bristled brush on the area, causing abrasion or pinpoint bleeding. Cells from the area are collected and examined under a microscope by a pathologist. If results are inconclusive or show cancer, an incisional biopsy will be completed.

Punch or Incisional biopsy:

This is the traditional, most frequently used type of biopsy. The Cancer surgeon surgically removes part or all of the tissue where cancer is suspected. This is day care procedure under local anesthesia. But if the tumor is inside the throat, the biopsy may be done in an operating room with general anesthesia.

Fine-needle-aspiration biopsy (FNA):

This type of biopsy often is used if a patient has a lump in the neck that can be felt. In this procedure, a thin needle is inserted into the area. Then cells are withdrawn and examined under a microscope.

Mucosal staining:

A blue dye called toluidine blue O is applied to the area where cancer is suspected. If any blue areas remain after rinsing, they probably will be investigated with a biopsy.

Chemiluminescent light:

After you rinse your mouth with a mild acid solution, your mouth will be examined with a special light. Healthy cells do not reflect the light; cancerous cells do.

3) Imaging tests,
which may include:

After you rinse your mouth with a mild acid solution, your mouth will be examined with a special light. Healthy cells do not reflect the light; cancerous cells do.

Oral Cancer Treatment

If you are diagnosed with oral cancer, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including the type and stage of the cancer and your general health.
Your treatment for oral cancer will be customized to your particular needs. One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the cancer or help relieve symptoms.


Surgery is the most frequent treatment for oral cancer. The type of surgery depends on the type and stage of the tumor. Surgical techniques to treat oral cancer and deal with the side effects of treatment include:
  • Removal of the tumor or a larger area to remove the tumor and surrounding healthy tissue
  • Removal of part or all of the jaw
  • Maxillectomy (removal of bone in the roof of the mouth)
  • Removal of lymph nodes and other tissue in the neck
  • Plastic surgery, including skin grafts, tissue flaps or dental implants to restore tissues removed from the mouth or neck
  • Tracheotomy, or placing a hole in the windpipe, to assist in breathing for patients with large tumors or after surgical removal of the tumor
  • Dental surgery to remove teeth or assist with reconstruction

Radiation Therapy

In cancer of the mouth, radiation therapy may be used alone to treat small or early-stage tumors. More often, radiation therapy is used after surgery, either alone or with chemotherapy for more advanced tumors. The method of radiation treatment used depends on the type and stage of cancer.
External-beam radiation therapy is the most frequently used method to deliver radiation therapy to the mouth. Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and proton therapy are aimed at treating the tumor while minimizing damage to surrounding normal tissue.
Internal radiation or brachytherapy delivers radiation with tiny seeds, needles or tubes that are implanted into the tumor. It is used sometimes for treating small tumors or with surgery in advanced tumors.


Basil offers the most advanced chemotherapy options. Chemotherapy may be used to shrink the cancer before surgery or radiation, or it may be combined with radiation to increase the effectiveness of both treatments. It also may be used to shrink tumors that cannot be surgically removed.

After Treatment: Reconstruction and Rehabilitation

Oral cancer and its treatment often cause difficulty in speaking, swallowing and breathing. We work with you, defining your needs and making sure you receive the care you need. This may includespeech, occupational and physical therapies and other methods.
After treatment, some patients with oral cancer need plastic or reconstructive surgery to help restore their appearance or regain the ability to speak or swallow. Basil’s plastic and reconstructive surgeons are among the most skilled and experienced in the world.