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Lip and Oral Cavity Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment Options by Stage

A link to a list of current clinical trials is included for each treatment section. For some types or stages of cancer, there may not be any trials listed. Check with your doctor for clinical trials that are not listed here but may be right for you.

Stage I Lip and Oral Cavity Cancer

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Treatment of stage I lip and oral cavity cancer depends on where cancer is found in the lip and oral cavity.

Lip

If cancer is in the lip, treatment may include the following:

  • Surgery (wide local excision).
  • Internal radiation therapy with or without external radiation therapy.

Front of the tongue

If cancer is in the front of the tongue, treatment may include the following:

  • Surgery (wide local excision).
  • Internal radiation therapy with or without external radiation therapy.
  • Radiation therapy to lymph nodes in the neck.

Buccal mucosa

If cancer is in the buccal mucosa (the lining of the inside of the cheeks), treatment may include the following:

  • Surgery (wide local excision) for tumors smaller than 1 centimeter, with or without internal and/or external radiation therapy.
  • Surgery (wide local excision with skin graft) or radiation therapy for larger tumors.

Floor of the mouth

If cancer is in the floor (bottom) of the mouth, treatment may include the following:

  • Surgery (wide local excision) for tumors smaller than ½ centimeter.
  • Surgery (wide local excision) or radiation therapy for larger tumors.

Lower gingiva

If cancer is in the lower gingiva (gums), treatment may include the following:

  • Surgery (wide local excision, which may include removing part of the jawbone, and skin graft).
  • Radiation therapy with or without surgery.

Retromolar trigone

If cancer is in the retromolar trigone (the small area behind the wisdom teeth), treatment may include the following:

  • Surgery (wide local excision, which may include removing part of the jawbone.)
  • Radiation therapy with or without surgery.

Upper gingiva or hard palate

If cancer is in the upper gingiva (gums) or the hard palate (the roof of the mouth), treatment is usually surgery (wide local excision) with or without radiation therapy.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I lip and oral cavity cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

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