Oral Cancer Treatment in South Africa

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer, also known as Mouth Cancer, is when cancer starts developing in the tissues of the mouth or even the throat. Oral cancer can develop in any part of the mouth, such as: 

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Cheeks
  • Hard and Soft Palate
  • Gums

This kind of cancer is largely common in people who are addicted to any kind of tobacco. The solution for the survival of oral cancer is early detection and immediate treatment. Oral Cancer Treatment should be started as soon as the doctors find any positive sign of cancer in the patient. 

Symptoms of Oral cancer

Mentioned below are the symptoms of the oral cancer:

  • Mouth sores that don’t heal 
  • Continuous pain in the mouth
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty in swallowing and chewing
  • Growth of white, red, or dotted (white and red) spots in the mouth

If you feel anything like that then you should go for a check-up to your local physician. . The patient should go to the doctors as soon as they see any signs of mouth cancer.

Factors affecting the cost of Oral cancer Treatment

It's a serious condition and it takes time and money to get over it. As there are many but the factors that most affect the oral cancer treatment cost is:

  • Lack of Medicare
  • Smoking Habit
  • Late Clinical Stage
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
Treatment and Cost

25

Total Days
In Country

2 No. Travelers

5 Day in Hospital

20 Days Outside Hospital

Treatment cost starts from

USD 8250

Hospitals

About the Oral cancer Treatment

Oral cancer, commonly referred to as mouth cancer or throat cancer, is an uncontrollable growth of cells in the oral cavity. It refers to cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth. It can include cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, the floor of the mouth, pharynx (throat), hard and soft palate and either of the sinuses. Mouth and oropharyngeal cancer can be life-threatening, but it could be prevented if the cancer is diagnosed early enough.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a result of a mutation in the DNA of the cells in the mouth. There are certain identified risk factors for mouth cancer that predisposes a person to oral cancer.

Some of the oral cancer risk factors include:

  • Smoking: Smoking tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, and pipes) contains nitrosamines and other chemicals that are known to cause cancer. People who are exposed to passive smoking also experience a small increase in their risk of oral cancer.  
  • Chewing tobacco: Use of any type of tobacco is one of the main reasons behind oral cancer. Chewing tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes. It is a popular habit in parts of Asia and in some immigrant groups in Europe, North America, and Australia. The harmful substances in tobacco and betel can cause oral cancer.
  • Alcohol consumption: Drinking excessive alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Using tobacco and alcohol both pose a much greater risk than using either of the substance alone.
  • Poor diet: Lack of vitamins and minerals, such as iron or folic acid in the diet, can lead to a breakdown in the oral mucosa and this can make people more prone to oral cancer. People should eat plenty of proteins, vitamins, and minerals to decrease the risk of oral cancer. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain a lot of antioxidants, vitamins and other substances that help prevent damage to body cells.
  • A family history of disease: There is a slightly higher risk of getting oral cancer in people who have a close relative who once had oral cancer.
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): HPV can contribute to some types of cancers, but it does not mean that people get these cancers like an infection. HPV can be passed on to another individual during a sexual contact, but for a majority of people, the virus is harmless and does not cause any trouble. Only a very small percentage of people with HPV end up developing oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

There are some typical signs of mouth cancer that a majority of patients experience. Make sure to visit your doctor or dentist in case you experience any of the following signs of mouth cancer:

  • Pain and discomfort in the mouth: Ongoing pain or discomfort from a long time in the mouth is the one of the most symptoms.
  • Ulcers and sore: Bleeding ulcer or sore, which is not healing for more than two weeks can be a symptom of oral cancer.
  • Unexplained bleeding: Unexplained bleeding in the mouth can be an alarming indication of oral cancer.
  • Numbness and lost sensation: Numbness, loss of feeling or tenderness in any area of the mouth, or neck can be a symptom.
  • White or red patches: Any abnormal looking patches in the mouth or throat could be a sign of cancer or precancerous changes. Although, a fungal infection called thrush can also be the reason for white or red patches.
  • Difficulty in swallowing: You may feel difficulty in chewing and swallowing and feel like your food is sticking in your throat. Feeling difficulty in speaking or moving the jaw and tongue can be one of the most important throat cancer symptoms.
  • Weight loss: Dramatic weight loss without any reason can also be a symptom.

How is Oral cancer Treatment performed?

Oral cancer treatment is similar to that for other types of cancers. You may have to go for just one type of treatment or a combination of different cancer treatment options. Your doctor will suggest you the most suitable treatment depending on the location of cancer, its stage, and your overall health status.

Some of the common treatment options for oral cancer include:

  • Surgery: It is one of the primary treatment options for mouth cancer. Your specialist may cut away the tumor and a margin of the healthy tissue that surrounds it to ensure all of the cancer cells have been removed. In some cases, the patient may have to undergo a neck dissection surgery, if the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes. Depending on the exact location of cancer in the oral cavity, the following surgeries may be performed:
  1. Mandibular resection surgery (partial or full thickness)
  2. Maxillectomy (full or partial)
  3. Mohs' surgery for lips
  4. Glossectomy (partial or total)
  5. Laryngectomy
  • Radiation therapy: In radiation therapy, a high-energy beam, such as X-rays and protons, are used to kill cancer cells. It comes with some side effects.
  • Chemotherapy: It is a drug treatment used to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs can be given alone or in combination with other cancer treatment. Chemotherapy is best suitable in cases where cancer has spread to other locations as well.
  • Alternative medicine: This treatment may help cope with oral cancer and the side effects of cancer treatment, but it cannot be used to treat oral cancer alone.

Recovery from Oral cancer Treatment

  • A majority of patients who undergo oral cancer treatment are able to recover quickly. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of the patients survive after timely treatment and if the cancer is diagnosed in its early stage. You may expect doctors to ask you to visit their clinic regularly even after your treatment. Your progress will be closely monitored and accordingly, the doctor will decide if any follow up procedure is required.
  • Recovery after oral cancer treatment depends on what type of procedures you were subjected to. If you’ve had a surgery, you are most likely to have a drip in your arm that feeds you fluids until you are able to eat by yourself. Additionally, you are likely to have a wound drain and a catheter in place to collect and measure urine. If you’ve had a tracheotomy, you will have a breathing tube in your neck.
  • Talking after the surgery is often challenging after the treatment for oral cancer. This may sometimes prove frustrating. Therefore, it is important to have someone nearby to take care of things for you and understand what you may need to communicate. It is normal to experience pain for a few days after the surgery. You may be administered painkillers after the surgery through an epidural.
  • The stitches are usually removed after 10 days of the surgery. The drain tube is removed three to seven days after the procedure. You will be given a detailed plan by a dietician, which outlines the things you should drink and eat after the removal of the feeding tube. You may be put on a liquid or soft diet for several days initially.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the health care infrastructure of South Africa / Why should opt for South Africa as a destination for your medical treatment?
Like most countries, hospitals in South Africa are based upon public and private healthcare systems. There are three main levels of healthcare based upon the payment method of the patient.
  • The full paying patients are those who usually prefer to be treated by a doctor working in the private sector. They can also be funded by an external source. Many non-South African citizens also prefer this treatment service.
  • Fully subsidized patients are those who have been referred from a Primary Healthcare Service Hospital.
  • Partially subsidized patients are patients whose costs are subsidized based on the amount of their income.
The public healthcare system has three main centers for health under its wing:
  • Clinics - These are run by trained professionals and nurses. They can serve as the first point of contact for a patient.
  • Community Healthcare Centre - This is a bigger setup, complete with full-fledged services and doctors and nurses.
  • Hospital - A patient usually gets here after a referral from a clinic or community health center. One can also go in for emergencies. A hospital provides various services like performing surgery and treating chronic illnesses.
Hospitals in South Africa are gearing up to tackle major illnesses and to provide better treatment options. The South African government is also working to introduce policies and towards accommodating more patients from all across the world. It is a great country to find affordable treatment options.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in South Africa? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals
The Joint Commission International (JCI) accredits and certifies most health care organizations and programs all around the world. Joint Commission International Accreditation and Certification is recognized as the global leader for health care quality of care and patient safety.
Are the doctors/surgeons in South Africa of the best quality?
Doctors associated with Medigence are of the best quality. We hope to give our patients a pleasant experience and the best doctors we can find. Since South Africa has a lot of requirements in the field of healthcare, the country attracts doctors from all over the world to contribute their services. This can help to ensure that even you receive the best quality of doctors.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in South Africa?
One can apply for a visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission of India can then help one decide for how long a visa can be extended. This usually differs from person to person. The Medical Visa allows a person to stay for a maximum of six months with a valid visa. After this, one can go to the FRO office ( Foreigner’s Registration Office ) or FRRO (Foreigner's Regional Registration Office) and request for an extension. Do note that the validity of a visa begins on the day it is issued by the High Commission of India and not on the date of departure. Applications for visas will not be accepted more than 30 days prior to departure.
What support services does MediGence provide in the United Arab Emirates?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
  • Hospital Recommendation
    We recommend a hospital or a healthcare institution that is best suited for you, based on your ailment and its criticality.
  • 360-degree Hospital Review
    We give you a transparent and holistic view of the hospital and its infrastructure, accreditation, facilities, and expertise to give you confidence.
  • Doctor Validation and Communication
    We share a comprehensive profile of the treating doctor and also arrange a call to clear queries regarding treatment if needed.
  • Options to Choose From
    Based on your choice of destination and other preferences, we provide you multiple options with respect to hospitals and doctors to choose from.
  • 24X7 Patient Care Support
    A dedicated patient case manager stays in constant touch with you to help you at every step of the decision-making process and resolve queries that you may have.
  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
    We give a clear and accurate indication of the total cost of treatment including treatment, stay, meals, and other expenses.
  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in South Africa for medical treatment?
While many cities are striving to create some of the best hospitals in South Africa, Durban, Lenasia, and Cape Town already have some very good hospitals for treatment in South Africa. Located in Durban, Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre is a reasonable and affordable hospital in South Africa. Life Kingsbury Hospital in Capetown provides a holistic healing environment for patients. One can also opt for the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Lenasia. This hospital has been running for nearly 30 years now and various medical facilities can be availed from here.

Our team of healthcare experts would be happy to assist you

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