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Most people can go home within several days after surgery for oral cancer. It will most likely take you a few weeks to feel better. Here are some of the things you can expect during your recovery. They are listed from the most to least common:
Pain in the area of the surgery
Numbness in your mouth or neck
Difficulty swallowing, eating, or talking
Occasionally, infection, bleeding, or oozing from the cut
Shoulder weakness, which can occasionally occur after removal of lymph nodes from your neck
Rarely, difficulty breathing
Most of these effects are temporary. Your doctor or nurse can help you learn how to cope with them. Before you leave the hospital, make sure you talk with your doctor about how to recognize the signs of a serious problem. In general, people who have surgery for oral cancer can get back to their normal activities after a couple of weeks.
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