Some common treatments for jaw bone cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and targeted therapy, according to the American Cancer Society. Chemotherapy is the use of chemical substances in drug form that target and destroy cancerous cells, although other healthy cells can be destroyed as well.
Surgery is the most common treatment for jaw bone cancer and other bone cancers, because certain bone cancers do not always respond well to chemotherapy and other treatments, explains the American Cancer Society. During jaw bone cancer, both the cancerous bone and the surrounding healthy bone are removed. If the cancer resides in the lower jaw, the entire bone is sometimes removed. However, healthy bones are taken from the rest of the body to reconstruct the jaw.
Because chemotherapy is not always effective on bone cancers, targeted therapy is an alternate treatment option, says the American Cancer Society. Targeted therapy is the use of drugs that specifically disrupt the genetic structure of cancerous cells. For instance, imatinib is a drug that inhibits DNA mutations that cause a cell to grow excessively. Denosumab is a drug that prevents the regular breakdown of bone. This helps to shrink tumors. However, it can negatively affect the jaw bone, causing lesions and possible infections.