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designated cancer center

Diagnosis and Treatment of Alveolar Ridge Cancer

The alveolar ridge is the area of your mouth just behind the top front teeth. Most alveolar ridge cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, meaning they arise from flat, thin cells in the epidermis lining the region. Unlike most head and neck cancers, alveolar ridge cancer is more common in women than in men. Symptoms can include loose teeth, bleeding, or pain that worsens when you chew.

Improving Your Chances of Success

Tobacco and alcohol consumption are the primary causes of alveolar ridge cancers. Encouragingly, studies have shown that you will respond better to treatment if you can stop smoking or chewing tobacco during and after receiving therapy. The Stanford Cancer Center offers free smoking cessation services to help you meet this important goal.

In early stages, cancer in the alveolar ridge can look like a harmless sore and can occur without symptoms. Nevertheless, early detection and treatment of alveolar ridge cancer greatly improves survival rates. Therefore, in addition to checking your own mouth for suspicious changes, your dentist should inspect your mouth for signs of all oral cancers during your regular dental exams, particularly if you regularly use tobacco or alcohol.

Stanford Expertise

Alveolar ridge cancer is one of the most rare types of head and neck cancer. Therefore, it is important to be seen by a team of physicians who have expertise in treating this specific disease. Alveolar ridge cancers can be treated with surgery and/or radiation and in rare instances experimental chemotherapy, depending on the stage and type of cancer.

The head and neck cancer specialists at the Stanford Cancer Center have experience treating alveolar ridge cancer, and will provide you with the multidisciplinary, quality, compassionate care that you deserve.

Your doctors and nurses will take care to minimize and manage treatment side effects like mucositis, and if the cancer is advanced reconstructive surgeons and speech therapists are integrated into treatment to ensure maximum success in preserving your swallowing and speaking ability.

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