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I've Just Been Told I Have Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is cancer that begins in your mouth. It is a relatively common cancer, especially in men. There are very few things scarier than being told you have cancer. You may feel like you're in shock. You may not even want to believe what the doctor has told you. And there are probably so many questions you want to ask but think you can't because you don't know where to start.

First of all, it's okay to be overwhelmed. And it's okay to feel afraid. But you shouldn't let those feelings stop you from finding out as much as you can about your cancer and about the options you have. Because the more you know, the less helpless and afraid you will feel. And the more you know, the better you will be able to work with your health care team to make the best choices for your treatment.

To decide the best course of treatment, your doctor needs to know as much as possible about your cancer. This will involve getting a variety of tests and working with more than one health care professional.

Your health care team may include any or all of these people:

  • Ear, nose, and throat specialist called an otolaryngologist

  • Head and neck surgical oncologist

  • Medical oncologist

  • Radiation oncologist

  • Oncology nurse

The team will answer all your questions and guide you through each of the steps that you'll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests are being done and what the results mean. They'll help you in making treatment decisions. Remember, you can always ask for a second opinion to ensure you feel comfortable with your plan. According to the American Cancer Society, some insurance companies require second opinions before treatment begins. Your family and trusted friends can help you find and understand the health insurance information you may need. 


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