Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is cancer that forms in the tissues of any part of the mouth or throat. There are many types of oral cancer, and most begin in the tongue and floor of the mouth. It also may develop on the lips, gums, lining of the cheeks, and roof of the mouth. Men are most at risk, especially those beyond age 40, users of tobacco or alcohol, and those with a history of head or neck cancer. Alabama ranks No. 5 in the nation for the number of oral cancer cases. About 75% of people suffering from oral cancer are seen first by their dentist before being referred for medical testing and treatment.

Symptoms of oral cancer often include common conditions that people might dismiss or assume will go away on their own. These symptoms include:

  • Bleeding or sore gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Numbness of the lip, gums, chin, or cheeks
  • A lump or mass in the neck
  • Pain in the ear, jaw, or mouth
  • New nasal congestion
  • Nasal bleeding
  • Problems or pain with swallowing
  • White or red patches in the mouth

Why UAB

Outstanding patient care is the primary focus of the UAB Medicine Head and Neck Oncology program. As a national leader in head and neck cancer treatment, we offer a number of surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for both malignant (cancerous) and benign (non-cancerous) tumors. We use a team approach that combines the expertise of head and neck surgeons; ear, nose, and throat physicians (otolaryngologists); medical and radiation oncologists; speech and swallowing specialists; dentists and prosthetic dentists; nutritionists; speech and language pathologists; and supportive care professionals.

A group of specialists called a tumor board meets weekly to discuss treatment options for patients with new and recurring cases of oral cancer. The board considers the latest clinical trials, immunotherapy (treatments that focus on the body’s immune system), and the most advanced surgical techniques in designing a treatment plan for each individual patient. And for the convenience of our patients, especially those who live far away, our Virtual Multidisciplinary Clinic enables patients to have much of their initial assessment done in one day, often avoiding multiple visits to different doctors.

 
 

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Low-Dose CT Screening for Lung Cancer

Low-dose CT (computed tomography) screening for lung cancer is a way of finding tumors before they become too advanced and become difficult to treat successfully. This screening method has been shown to reduce the risk of death from lung cancer in high-risk patients by 20% compared to chest X-ray alone. However, many lung nodules (growths) detected from the low-dose CT screening are not cancerous, so follow-up CT scans or other tests may be needed to determine the presence of cancer.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT scans in adults age 55-80 who have a 30-pack-per-year smoking history and currently smoke or quit within the last 15 years. Medicare approved screening for patients age 55-77, and this is the age group that UAB Medicine provides screening for. Screening is stopped once a person has not smoked for 15 years, develops a health problem that seriously limits life expectancy, or does not wish to have lung surgery. The CT scan itself lasts only about 20 seconds. Patients being screened are asked to hold their breath for a few seconds as the scan is performed. All patients must be referred for the test by a physician after a shared decision-making appointment. It is important that a responsible health care provider manages follow-up care for patients with a positive test.

Click here to learn More about Screening >>
Click here for a Screening Referral Form >>


CLINICAL TRIALS

UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials