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Oral cavity cancer treatment Worldwide: Best Hospitals, Doctors, Options, & Cost

Oral cavity cancer treatment is a global health problem. There were 600,000+ new cases worldwide annually. The overall survival rate is just 40% to 50% after five years, which hasn't improved much in the last 30 years. Most patients are diagnosed late when the disease is advanced, and oral cavity cancer treatment for stage 3 or 4 is hard. However, concerning the oral cavity cancer treatment prognosis, if oral cancers are found early, the chance of surviving for at least 5 years is 86%. But, only 28% of cancers are discovered at this stage.

Risky behaviors like tobacco and alcohol use, and the growing problem of papillomavirus-related oral cancers, make prevention difficult. Genetic variations also make it hard to find an oral cavity cancer treatment that will work for everyone. That's why the plan to fight the diseases includes early detection and research into the new lip and oral cavity cancer treatment methods.

Update: Apr 23, 2024

Best oral cavity cancer treatment clinics

Selecting a hospital for oral cavity cancer

Choosing the right hospital for oral cavity cancer treatment involves careful analysis. A team of specialists, adherence to international guidelines, cutting-edge facilities including robotic surgery, and active clinical research involvement are crucial.

Targeted medicines and immunotherapy, ensuring comprehensive post-operative care with reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation services, and supportive care like psychological support are important for holistic treatment. That is also crucial in choosing a hospital for the oral cavity.

The clinic or center's reputation, location, and treatment costs are critical factors in deciding. The choice of hospital for oral cavity cancer treatment ultimately depends on your needs, requiring thorough research and an understanding of the capabilities of each center.

Top doctors for oral cavity cancer

Prof. Dr. med. Tho­mas Vogl
Dr. med. Anett Tillmann, MBA
Prof. Dr. med. Roland Ladurner
Academic Hospital Martha-Maria Munich
general, abdominal, thoracic, endocrine, vascular and minimally invasive surgery
Prof. Dr. med. Alexander Muacevic
Prof. Dr. med. Harald-Robert Bruch, MSc, PhD
Oncological and Haematological Praxis Clinic Bonn
gastroenterology, hepatology, infectious diseases, oncology, hematology, pain therapy and nutritionology
Prof. Dr. med. Hans Hoffmann
Prof. Dr. med. Barbara Wollenberg
University Hospital Rechts der Isar Munich
otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, plastic-reconstructive surgery, oncology and immunology
Prof. Dr. med. Klaus Dietrich
Prof. Dr. med. Philipp M. Paprottka

Advice for oral cavity cancer doctor finding

The selection of an oral cavity cancer doctor involves careful consideration of their specialization, professional affiliations, experience, success rates, approach to care, involvement in research, patient reviews, communication skills, and location. Take your time to research and make an informed choice.

Finding the best doctor for stage 1 oral cavity cancer or for any other stage, you will trust and feel comfortable with that professional, which can significantly improve your treatment journey.

If the process seems overwhelming, remember, AiroMedical is here to assist you. We can provide advice, information, and support to help you find the best oral cavity cancer doctor. Let us help you navigate your journey to recovery.

Treatment of oral cavity cancer

The process of oral cavity cancer treatment involves a multi-faceted approach, utilizing several modalities tailored to the patient's condition. The primary oral cavity cancer treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy.

Surgical treatment

In oral cavity, cancer treatment, surgery is often the primary choice, and its kinds and methods depend on the stage and tumor location. The overall survival rate after the initial surgery in connection with the cancer stage was 84% after treatment for stage 1, 71% for stage II, 36% for stage III, and 28% after treatment for stage 4.

Excisional surgery or resection
This standard oral cavity cancer treatment procedure aims to remove the entire tumor and a safety margin (usually 1-1,5 cm) of healthy tissue surrounding it. The primary goal of excisional surgery is to ensure no cancerous cells remain in the area. Excisional surgery significantly improves the patient's odds of overcoming the disease by effectively preventing cancer progression.

This approach can also be highly effective after the treatment for stage 2. For example, the 8-year study reported about 100% disease-specific survival for squamous oral cell cavity carcinoma at its early stages.

Advanced stages surgery
Surgical treatment for stage 3 and 4 oral cavity cancer involves multiple specialists aiming to remove the entire tumor and perform the necessary reconstruction. Surgical oral cavity cancer treatment might necessitate an incision in the jaw, with the extent of jawbone removal varying based on the cancer's spread. Sometimes, a "free flap" procedure is used when tissue, muscle, bone, arteries, and veins are transferred from one part of the patient's body to replace the removed parts.

The effectiveness of these surgeries is influenced by the cancer's location and stage and the patient's overall health. The survival rate for stage III oral cavity cancer is 36%, and for stage IV, it drops to 28%.

Trans-oral robotic surgery (TORS)
TORS is an innovative treatment of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer where doctors use a robotic system to eliminate mouth and throat tumors. This enhanced method allows surgeons to reach difficult spots and remove tumors accurately. Such an approach lessens harm to surrounding tissues and provides superior disease control with fewer side effects. Patients undergoing TORS stay in the hospital shorter and recover faster with fewer complications, contributing to successful treatment outcomes.

The 5-year survival was 84.8% for robotic surgery patients compared to 80.3% for non-robotic surgery patients. Moreover, TORS ensures improved oral cavity cancer treatment recovery of normal function and pleasing aesthetic results.

Neck dissection
This oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer treatment is utilized when cancer has infiltrated the lymph nodes in the neck. ENT doctors conduct neck dissection to eliminate affected lymph nodes and nearby tissue. The scope of this operation hinges on the degree of cancer spread within the neck. This oral cavity cancer treatment assists in preventing further metastasis, effectively improving the patient's chances of recovery. The extent of neck dissection varies, depending on the advancement of cancer within the neck.

The results in the study are: over five years, 67% of patients survived. The rates were 80% for no lymph node cancer, 68% for small, and 54% for larger lymph node cancer.

Reconstructive surgery
These surgeries doctors perform after oral cavity cancer treatment. Its goal is to help restore the patient's appearance, speech, chewing, swallowing, and overall functionality, which can be involved depending on the location and size of the initial surgery. It might involve minor adjustments or extensive reconstruction using tissue from other body parts. Modern techniques like 3D printing can significantly aid in planning these surgeries and crafting customized implants for patients.

This advanced approach improves surgical outcomes and enhances the patient's quality of life. It's typically used following major surgeries, playing a key role in patient recovery. The improvement, estimated by patients, is "very good" and can reach more than 80 scores.

In conclusion, oral cavity cancer treatment is a complex, individualized process that involves considering the cancer's stage, location, and the patient's health. It often requires a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy to control the disease effectively.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy, involving high-energy X-rays or particles, is a powerful tool in oral cavity cancer treatment. It is used as the primary method for smaller cancers or patients unfit for surgery, an adjuvant post-surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells, or as a neoadjuvant therapy combined with chemotherapy to shrink larger tumors before surgery.

It's also applied in advanced stages and cases of cancer recurrence. Additionally, radiation combined with chemotherapy, known as chemoradiation, often enhances treatment efficacy, despite increased side effects. Radiation therapy is provided in such forms:

External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)
EBRT is a common radiation therapy for oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer. During an external approach, radiation is focused on cancer from a source outside the body. This technique aids in killing cancer cells while limiting exposure to healthy tissue.

The estimated survival rate for RT alone after 5 years was 22.8% for stages III-IV and 54.2% for stages I-II.

Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT)
3D-CRT is a sophisticated form of EBRT. Here, special computers map the tumor location precisely, allowing multiple radiation beams to target the tumor from different angles, reducing damage to nearby healthy tissues.

For patients treated with 3D-CRT radiation therapy, the control of local or regional cancer growth was at 79.2%. Their disease-free survival rate was 41.3%, and the overall survival rate was 44.9%.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
IMRT, an advanced 3D-CRT for oral cavity cancer treatment, uses a computer-driven machine that moves around the patient during radiation delivery. This dynamic process adjusts both the direction and strength of the beams to limit exposure to surrounding tissues, allowing a higher dose to be delivered to the tumor.

In patients treated with IMRT radiation therapy, control of local or regional cancer growth was observed in 68.7% of cases. The disease-free survival rate was 48.6%, and the overall survival rate was 55.0%.

Proton beam radiation therapy
Unlike traditional x-ray-based treatments, proton beam therapy focuses protons on cancer. Protons release radiation only at a certain distance, which means tissues beyond the tumor receive minimal radiation. This technique minimizes damage to nearby tissues, making it suitable for treating tumors in the oral cavity where critical structures are nearby.

This oral cavity cancer treatment success, due to the study, the local control range, depending on the follow-up periods, range from 88 to 100%, disease-free survival from 65 to 96.3%, and overall survival from 94.5 to 98.4%.

This radiation therapy is seldom used initially for oral cavity cancer treatment but might be employed if cancer recurs. Brachytherapy involves placing radioactive materials inside or near the tumor, providing a high dose of radiation to the cancer while minimizing exposure to healthy tissues nearby.

After brachytherapy, 79% of patients got fully better, and 21% improved partially. With surgery, 100% of early-stage and 78% of advanced-stage patients saw their condition controlled.

The choice of method often depends on the specific characteristics of the patient's cancer, overall health, and oral cavity cancer treatment goals.


Chemotherapy, used alone or in combination with radiation (chemoradiation), can enhance the effectiveness of oral cavity cancer treatment by killing remaining cancer cells post-surgery or making the tumor more susceptible to radiation. It can also be employed in cases where cancer has spread or returned. However, it is rarely used alone for oral cavity cancer treatment.

Chemoradiotherapy is oral cavity cancer treatment that uses chemotherapy and radiation together. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells, while radiation targets specific areas to destroy or slow the growth of these cells. This method is used for unresectable cancers and can work better than chemotherapy or radiation alone.

The researchers say that 66.9% of patients were still alive after five years, and 65.9% were disease-free. As for functionality, the vast majority of patients (92.2%) could eat and maintain their weight without needing a gastric tube.

Systemic chemotherapy
At the same time, the results of some studies are promising. For example, the research for oral cavity cancer treatment involved 120 participants, 80% in stage IV of the disease. Post two induction chemo cycles with cisplatin and fluorouracil, about 63.3% saw some improvement, with 13% complete response.

In addition, treatment following response included chemoradiation, radiation, or surgery, with 40.8% avoiding organ removal. Five-year survival rates were 51.4% overall and 66.9% disease-specific.


Immunotherapy is used for oral cavity cancer treatment, leveraging the body's immune system to target and destroy cancer cells. Unlike chemotherapy, immunotherapy involves fewer severe side effects. It acts on specific immune system proteins to enhance their cancer-fighting abilities.

These drugs are called checkpoint inhibitors. Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) target a T-cell protein called PD-1, thus enhancing the immune response against cancer cells during oral cavity cancer treatment. They are used when chemotherapy is ineffective in patients with recurrent or metastatic oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer.

Nivolumab is administered via intravenous infusion every 2 or 4 weeks, while Pembrolizumab is given every 3 or 6 weeks. Pembrolizumab may also be used alone or alongside chemotherapy as a primary treatment for certain patients. Results of this oral cavity cancer treatment are promising: over half of the patients (52%) observed a decrease in the size of their primary tumor following immunotherapy.

Certain immunotherapies, like monoclonal antibodies, serve a dual purpose. They function as targeted drug therapy by inhibiting specific proteins in cancer cells, preventing their growth.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy in oral cavity cancer treatment uses drugs like Cetuximab that can be combined with radiation for patients who can't handle the aggressive nature of chemoradiation.

Targeted medications
These drugs specifically target cancer cells, sparing healthy cells and potentially reducing side effects. Results of this oral cavity cancer treatment are: the total proportion of patients who responded to the treatment was 57.1%, with one-third (33.3%) experiencing a complete disappearance of their cancer and nearly a quarter (23.8%) showing some tumor reduction.

More specific approaches for oral cavity cancer treatment

As we learn more about the unique characteristics of individual patients' cancers, oncology is moving towards more personalized treatments and techniques.

Tumor ablations
Tumor ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to destroy tumors without removing them surgically. Various techniques may be employed, including radiofrequency ablation (RFA), electroporation, microwave ablation (MWA), or cryoablation.

While not yet a standard oral cavity cancer treatment option, it might be considered in select oral cavity cancer cases where conventional surgical approaches are high-risk or unfeasible. Some of the results are reported in the study, under local anesthesia, with no swallow and speech defects and with excellent cosmetic effects.

Embolization options
Embolization is a process where the blood flow to the tumor is blocked, causing the tumor to become smaller. It's sometimes used as oral cavity cancer treatment to reduce tumor size. However, it's only sometimes chosen due to the complex blood vessel network in the mouth and potential risks.

One goal of using embolization, particularly trans-arterial embolization, is to stop bleeding in patients with advanced oral cavity cancer who have bleeding issues during definitive concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT). The effect of bleeding stop is 100%.

Personal immunotherapies and immunotherapy vaccines
These personal cancer treatments stimulate the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. Personalized immunotherapies, like CAR-T cell therapies, are under investigation for many types of cancer, including oral cavity cancer.

Early-phase clinical trials are exploring the use of therapeutic vaccines designed to stimulate an immune response against specific tumor antigens found in individual patients' oral cavity cancers. These are promising results for oral cavity cancer treatment: CAR-T cell therapy has reduced the size of some tumors by 56%, and nearly all cancer cells were killed.

Palliative care and pain management
Palliative care is crucial for patients. It enhances their quality of life with oral cavity cancer treatment, especially in advanced stages where a cure is impossible. It includes managing symptoms such as pain that impact about 67% of patients, difficulty swallowing, and weight loss.

Pain management might involve a combination of medications, nerve blocks, or non-pharmacologic techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy. Moreover, palliative care teams provide psychological and social support, addressing the comprehensive needs of patients and their families.

For oral cavity cancer treatment, these approaches may offer new hope for patients, particularly those with advanced or recurrent diseases less responsive to standard therapies.

Selection for oral cavity cancer treatment depends on various factors, including the cancer's form and location, the patient's overall health, potential side effects, and personal preferences. Selecting the treatment options for oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer by stage is a key part of planning. A combination of treatments is often employed to provide the most effective approach. As treatment plans are highly individualized, discussions with the healthcare team are essential to choosing the best action.

Advantages of medical travel

Health tourism, where people travel to another country for medical treatment, is increasingly popular, especially for those with conditions like oral cavity cancer. This trend offers a variety of benefits, including access to advanced therapies, skilled specialists, and high-quality healthcare facilities.

The key benefits of oral cavity cancer treatment abroad

Access to specialist care
Medical tourism provides access to top-notch specialists in oral cavity cancer treatment. Patients can consult with world-renowned oncologists, surgeons, and rehabilitation experts who specialize in this type of cancer, which may not be possible in their home country.
Cutting-edge technology
Medical travel destinations often boast advanced healthcare technology, including innovative oral cavity cancer treatments such as robotic surgery, groundbreaking immunotherapies, and 3D printing. 3D printing can contribute to accurate surgical planning, the production of tailor-made implants, and the creation of patient-specific oral cavity models for improved treatment planning.
Traveling abroad for medical treatment can save significant costs, especially for patients from countries with high healthcare costs. Even with travel expenses factored in, the total oral cavity cancer treatment cost can be considerably less than in their home country.
Quicker access
Patients choosing to travel for oral cavity cancer treatment may also benefit from shorter wait times for surgery and other procedures, allowing for speedier commencement of their treatment.
Comprehensive care packages
Many medical tourism destinations offer holistic oral cavity cancer treatment packages tailored to the kind of disease. These packages include innovative diagnostic procedures, surgery, follow-up care, and additional services such as speech therapy, dietary advice, and rehabilitation - all of which play a vital role in the patient's recovery process after oral cavity cancer treatment.
Second opinion
Medical travel allows seeking an online consultation with internationally acclaimed oncologists specializing in oral cavity cancer. It can lead to more refined treatment strategies and instill greater confidence in the chosen treatment plan.

In conclusion, medical travel provides many opportunities for oral cavity cancer treatment, offering patients access to specialized methods that may not be available or affordable in their home country. However, it's crucial for each patient to meticulously research potential destinations and discuss these options with their local healthcare providers to make a well-informed decision that best fits their personal health needs.

Summarizing, every oral cavity cancer treatment option should be considered when facing a diagnosis. Medical tourism provides an important avenue to potentially life-saving treatments, specialists, and advanced technology that might not be available or affordable locally.

With AiroMedical, your journey to better health can be streamlined and supported. We connect you and world-renowned medical facilities, ensuring you receive the best oral cavity cancer treatment as possible. We'll assist with each process step, from choosing the ideal medical destination to coordinating your oral cavity cancer treatment plan and travel logistics. Don't let geographical boundaries limit your treatment options. Reach out to AiroMedical today and explore a world of medical opportunities.

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