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Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer

The oral cavity comprises the mouth, lips, the inside lining of the lips and cheek,  and the middle part of the throat is considered as the oropharynx. When cells in the oral cavity grow uncontrollably, it is referred to as oral cancer while cancerous developments in the throat, just behind the oral cavity, is referred to as oropharyngeal cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, there have been 54540 new cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancer in 2023 alone with about 11580 deaths recorded. The tongue, tonsils, oropharynx, the gums and floor of the mouth are primary locations of oral and oropharyngeal cancer development. Oral cancer is deemed twice more common in men than women.

Watching out for the symptoms, understanding risk factors and opting for on-time diagnosis can help you improve your outlook and quality of life.

The Types of Oral Cancer

The type of oral cancer is usually determined based on the source of origin. Squamous cells lining the mouth, throat and oral cavity and salivary gland tissues are highly susceptible to oral cancer developments.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma

The most prevalent type of oral cancer, accounting for roughly 90% of all cases. It arises in the thin, flat squamous cells lining the inside of the mouth and throat.

Verrucous carcinoma

Verrucous carcinoma

This is a rare subtype of squamous cell carcinoma and often appears as a wart-like lesion on the oral cavity lining. Verrucous carcinoma grows slowly and has a less aggressive behaviour compared to regular squamous cell carcinoma.

The Symptoms of Oral Cancer

What Causes Oral Cancer?

Genetic predispositions, acquired and inherited genetic mutations, HPV infections and tobacco usage are considered the primary causes of oral cancer.

Risk Factors of Oral Cancer

Risk Factors of Oral Cancer

  • Excessive tobacco and alcohol usage
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Excessive body weight
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Exposure to UV radiation
  • Genetic syndromes - Fanconi anemia, and Dyskeratosis congenita
  • Inadequate oral hygiene and health
  • Potential irritation from dentures and dental implants (unproven)

Diagnosis of oral cancer takes on a multipronged approach.

Some of the key diagnostic methodologies include:

Complete head and neck exam – ENT specialists or otolaryngologists examine your head and neck region for possible signs of cancerous developments. They may leverage methods, such as indirect pharyngoscopy, and laryngoscopy or direct pharyngoscopy, and laryngoscopy.

Pandendoscopy – ENT specialists leverage different types of endoscopes to perform laryngoscopy, pharyngoscopy, esophagoscopy, and bronchoscopy, etc. The objective of these methods is to find out the presence of oral tumors, and their extent of spread.

Biopsy – Biopsy involves removing a small piece of tissue or a sample of cells from the oral and oropharyngeal cavity to look for cancerous developments. This can help otolaryngologists arrive at conclusive diagnosis.

Exfoliative Cytology – This diagnostic test is easy to perform and help ENT specialists diagnose oral and oropharyngeal cancer in the earlier phases.

Incisional Biopsy – This type of biopsy is used to check for changes in the mouth and throat.

Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy – This biopsy is recommended for individuals whose CT scans reveal any lumps or abnormalities in the neck region.

HPV Testing – Since HPV infection is considered one of the prime cause and risk factors for oral cancer, ENT specialists leverage HPV testing to identify the stage of oral cancer to recommend stage-appropriate treatment modalities.

Imaging Tests – Chest X-rays, CT scans, MRI, PET, bone scans, Barium swallow and ultrasound tests can be administered to diagnose oral and oropharyngeal cancerous developments.

Stage 0 Oral Cancer – This is considered the earliest stage wherein the cancer has not started spreading to the neighboring tissues. Mohs surgery, and surgical stripping are recommended at this stage to restrict cancer growth. However, there is a high risk of relapse, which is often treated with radiation therapy. 

Stage I and II Cancer – Cancers affecting the back of the tongue, soft palate and tonsils are considered early stages of oral and oropharyngeal cancers. Chemoradiation and surgery either in a standalone or in a combination manner used as the ideal course of treatment for these stages of oral cancer. 

Stage III and IV Cancer – During these stages, the lumps in the neck and back of the throat are larger. Surgery, radiation and chemoradiation can be leveraged at these stages to keep the locally advanced cancers restricted. Stage IVA and IVB are locally advanced while stage IVC is the metastatic stage. 

Recurrent Cancer – Even after treatment, oral and oropharyngeal cancer may relapse. Based on the symptoms, extent of spread and other crucial factors, your oncology expert will chart out the course of treatment. 


Treatment modalities for oral and oropharyngeal cancers may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, palliative care, etc. The treatment is recommended based on the cancer location, stage, extent of spread and other crucial aspects. 

Surgery – This is the most common treatment modality used for treating stage 0 and early-stage oral and oropharyngeal cancers. Tumor resection, Mohs micrographic surgery, Glossectomy, Mandibulectomy, Maxillectomy, Laryngectomy, Trans-oral robotic surgery (TORS), neck dissection, reconstructive surgery are some of the most employed surgical interventions for oral cancer.

Radiation Therapy – This treatment modality leverages high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells in the oral and oropharyngeal cavities. It can be used as a standalone treatment, before or after a surgical procedure, in combination with a targeted drug and chemotherapy to achieve better results. External beam radiation therapy, and brachytherapy are the most common radiation methodologies. 

Chemotherapy – Anti-cancer drugs are either taken orally or injected into the vein during chemotherapy sessions, either planned post-surgery or before the surgery. This can be combined with radiation therapy, known as chemoradiation to destroy cancer cells. This treatment modality might have short and long-term side effects. 

Targeted Therapy – Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a protein that helps cancer cells grow. Targeted drugs are administered specifically to target cancer cells with EGFR changes. This can be combined with chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to treat advanced-stage oral and oropharyngeal cancers. Headaches, diarrhea, and fatigue are some of the commonly observed side effects of targeted therapy. 

Immunotherapy – PD-1 inhibitors are leveraged to enable the patient’s immune system to find and eliminate cancer cells.

Oral cancer preventive methodologies include:

  • Avoiding excessive tobacco and alcohol usage
  • Preventing HPV infections
  • Opting for recommended HPV vaccination
  • Restricting UV exposure
  • Opting for healthy lifestyle choices
  • Opting for periodic dental screenings

The survival rate of Oral cancer is at least 5 years after diagnosis.

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Survival rates for oral cancer vary by location. Mouth cancer shows over 75% survival for one year and around 55% for five years. Oropharyngeal cancer has similar rates, while tongue cancer has higher survival rates of almost 80% for one year and almost 60% for five years.

How Punarjan Clinic Treats Oral Cancer?

How Punarjan Clinic Treats Oral Cancer?

Punarjan Clinic integrates the profound wisdom of Rasayana Ayurveda to restore harmony and vitality to the body, addressing not only the symptoms but also the underlying causes of oral cancer.

Our distinct treatment methodology involves a meticulous sequence of herbal formulations, detoxification therapies, personalized diet plans, and transformative lifestyle changes. This comprehensive approach is tailored to rejuvenate the body’s natural balance, fostering a path to healing.

Recognizing the emotional and psychological challenges that accompany an oral cancer diagnosis, we cultivate a nurturing and empathetic environment. Our trained counselors provide a compassionate space where individuals can openly express their hopes, fears, and worries.

Beyond the physical realm, our commitment is to empower individuals to lead healthy and peaceful lives, finding inner strength to face adversity. The sacred bond between doctor and patient is fundamental, fostering open communication and trust.

Tracking progress and making necessary adjustments requires a holistic strategy, merging traditional Ayurvedic wisdom with contemporary diagnostic methods. Choosing Punarjan Clinic means committing to the finest healing approach—honoring nature’s power, receiving personalized care, and joining a compassionate community.


Success Stories


Punarjan Clinic saved my life. When I was told I had eye cancer and needed more tests and chemotherapy, I felt scared. But then I found this hospital.

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Punarjan Clinic has been a ray of hope for Bibi, suffering from Colon cancer. She was told that without tumor removal, survival was unlikely, leaving her unable to eat or drink and in immense pain.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the common symptoms of oral cancer?

    Persistent mouth sores, lumps or swelling in the mouth, unexplained bleeding, difficulty swallowing, and changes in voice are considered some of the common symptoms of oral cancer. Consult a healthcare professional if you or your loved ones are experiencing any of these symptoms.

  • How is oral cancer diagnosed?

    Diagnosis methodologies for oral cancer involve physical examination, biopsy, imaging studies (CT scans, MRI), and endoscopy. Early detection is crucial that helps you to seek on-time and effective treatment.

  • What are the risk factors for oral cancer?

    Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use (smoking or chewing), excessive alcohol consumption, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, prolonged sun exposure, and a history of oral cancer

  • Can oral cancer be prevented?

    Prevention of oral cancer depends on the individual health profile, genetics and a host of other aspects. However, consciously avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol use, practicing safe sun exposure, and getting vaccinated against HPV are some of the key preventive measures for oral cancer. Regular dental check-ups are crucial too for early detection.

  • What are the treatment options for oral cancer?

    Treatment may involve surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Treatment plans are often personalized based on cancer stage and individual health factors.

  • Is oral cancer hereditary?

    While most cases of oral cancer are not directly hereditary, a family history of certain cancers or genetic conditions may raise the risk. Regular oral screenings are recommended for individuals with a family history.

  • Can oral cancer be cured?

    Prognosis of oral cancer depends on factors, such as oral cancer stage, type, and treatment response. Early detection and comprehensive treatment may improve your chances of successful outcomes.