When malignant (or other fast-growing) tumors of the jaws and gums form, one of the first things that is likely to happen is the teeth falling out. After excision of the cancerous tissue, the remaining bones are often left deformed and irregularly-shaped.
One thing a lot of people don’t realize is often an aspect of the oncology field, is working with other specialists (such as orthodontists and reconstructive surgeons) and knowing the basics of those other fields, to ensure that once the cancer is eliminated, the patient will be able to have prostheses formed and comfortably attached, or reconstructive surgery will be able to restore some appearance/function. If the patient can’t have those, return to a “normal” life is made far more difficult.
Of course, elimination of the cancer is paramount, but if patient is to return to an independent and quality life, you can’t just go in there and rip it out like they did for quite some time.
Creating prostheses is a very skilled profession, even today. Despite all the technology and automation that we have, it still takes years and lots of training to master the nuanced ability to take a cast of a body part and create a comfortable and functional prosthetic device.
Illustrations from Tumors of the Jaws. Charles Locke Scudder, M.D., 1912.