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Indian J Radiol Imaging. 2012 Jul;22(3):195-208. doi: 10.4103/0971-3026.107182.

Imaging in oral cancers.

Author information

1
Department of Radio diagnosis, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

Abstract

Oral cavity squamous cell cancers form a significant percentage of the cancers seen in India. While clinical examination allows direct visualization, it cannot evaluate deep extension of disease. Cross-sectional imaging has become the cornerstone in the pretreatment evaluation of these cancers and provides accurate information about the extent and depth of disease that can help decide the appropriate management strategy and indicate prognosis. Early cancers are treated with a single modality, either surgery or radiotherapy while advanced cancers are offered a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Imaging can decide resectability, help plan the precise extent of resection, and indicate whether organ conservation therapy should be offered. Quality of life issues necessitate preservation of form and function and pretreatment imaging helps plan appropriate reconstruction and counsel patients regarding lifestyle changes. Oral cavity has several subsites and the focus of the review is squamous cancers of the gingivobuccal region, oral tongue and retromolar trigone as these are most frequently encountered in the subcontinent. References for this review were identified by searching Medline and PubMed databases. Only articles published in English language literature were selected. This review aims to familiarize the radiologist with the relevant anatomy of the oral cavity, discuss the specific issues that influence prognosis and management at the above subsites, the optimal imaging methods, the role of imaging in accurately staging these cancers and in influencing management. A checklist for reporting will emphasize the information to be conveyed by the radiologist.

KEYWORDS:

CT; MRI; cancers; gingivobuccal; imaging; tongue

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