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What to Know About Combination Therapy for Oral Cancer

You may get more than one kind of treatment for oral cancer. If so, it’s called combination treatment. It’s also called multimodality treatment. You may have more than one of these treatments:

  • Surgery

  • Radiation

  • Chemotherapy

For instance, you may have surgery and chemotherapy. Or you may have surgery and radiation. You may even have all three types of care.

The order that you get treatments has a specific name. For instance, when you have a treatment before having surgery, it is called neoadjuvant treatment. You may have chemotherapy or radiation before surgery. These help shrink the tumor. A smaller tumor is easier to take out. They also help keep the cancer from spreading.

Or, you may have treatment after surgery. This order is called adjuvant treatment. You may have chemotherapy or radiation soon after surgery. The goal is to kill any cancer cells that are left. Even if there is no sign of cancer, your doctor may still suggest adjuvant treatment. Having it reduces the risk that cancer may come back or spread.