Doctors are working to learn more about oral and oropharyngeal cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials . Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.
New treatments. Many new treatments have become available as a result of improvement in the knowledge of the biology of cancer. Some of these treatments, including biologic therapy  and targeted therapy , are available through clinical trials. Biologic therapy, also called immunotherapy, helps restore or stimulate the body’s immune system to fight the cancer. Targeted therapies, based upon the scientific advances in learning more about the molecular biology and characterization of head and neck cancers, are leading to approaches with fewer side effects in treating this type of cancer. Therapies being researched include tyrosine kinase inhibitors, antiangiogenic therapy (which prevents blood vessel formation that is needed for tumor growth), immune modulating approaches, and agents that induce cancer cell death. These and other developments are in various stages of research. Patients should talk with their doctors about clinical trials for treating oral and oropharyngeal cancer.
Radiofrequency thermal ablation (RFA). RFA uses heat to kill cancer cells. It is a minimally invasive treatment option that may be useful for localized tumors that cannot be removed by surgery.
Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better methods of reducing the symptoms and side effects of current oral and oropharyngeal treatments to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.
Learn more about common statistical terms used in cancer research .
To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now .
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