MOUTH (ORAL) CANCER- Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Medications


Cancer that is present within the mouth is called mouth or oral cancer. It can spread to the adjacent tissues in the oral cavity.

Mouth cancer is one of a few kinds of cancer assembled in a classification called head and neck cancers. The treatment of mouth cancers is similar to the methods used in treating head and neck cancers.

Mouth cancer may be squamous cell carcinoma, verrucous carcinoma, minor salivary gland carcinoma, lymphoma, benign oral cavity and oropharyngeal tumor, leukoplakia or erythroplakia.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Majority of cancers that are present in the mouth and pharynx are squamous cell cancers. Typically, the oral cavity is lined with squamous cells, which are flat and look like scales. Squamous cell cancer cells are irregular in shape.

Verrucous carcinoma

About 5 percent of all oral tumors are verrucous carcinoma, which is a slow growing cancer made up of squamous cells. This kind of oral tumor can affect the oral cavity but can also spread to other parts of the body.

Minor salivary gland carcinomas

This type is composed of cancers that originate from the minor salivary organs, which are found all in the oropharyngeal areas. These types include adenoid cystic cancers and mucoepidermoid cancers.


These are cancers that form in lymph tissue such as those found in the tonsils and the tongue. They affect the lymphatic system.

Benign oral cavity and oropharyngeal tumors

These cancers are from the structures of the oral cavity and oropharynx. Now and again, these conditions may form into tumors. Therefore, benign tumors, which don’t reform, are frequently removed. The types include:

  • Eosinophilic granuloma
  • Fibroma
  • Granular cell tumor
  • Karatoacanthoma
  • Leiomyoma
  • Osteochondroma
  • Lipoma
  • Schwannoma
  • Neurofibroma
  • Papilloma
  • Condyloma acuminatum
  • Verruciform xanthoma
  • Pyogenic granuloma
  • Rhabdomyoma
  • Odontogenic tumors

Leukoplakia and erythroplakia

These non-malignant conditions imply that there are types of anomalous cells in the mouth or throat. Leukoplakia means that there is a white area while a red area is found in erythroplakia. The two conditions might be precancerous; that is, they can form into various sorts of cancers. A biopsy or other tests are needed to confirm whether there is a malignancy or not.


Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer may include:

  • Non-healing sore
  • Bleeding sore
  • A growth or lump in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Tongue pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Difficult chewing
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Sore throat


The doctor will obtain a medical history and do a physical exam. Tests used to diagnose mouth cancer include a biopsy or removal of tissue for testing.

If there is a mass that is discovered, your doctor may remove a sample for testing. Unusual cells can be removed using diverse methods, however, are regularly removed utilizing a scalpel, scissors or another apparatus. The cells are then analyzed for the presence of cancer.



Treatment for mouth cancer relies upon the area and stage, and your general health and individual inclinations. You may have only one treatment, or you may experience a combination of treatments. Treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Talk about your choices with your doctor.


Surgery for mouth cancer may include removal of tumor, removal of cancer that has spread to the neck, and mouth reconstruction.

Radiation therapy

Radiation treatment utilizes high energy rays, like X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation treatment is regularly conveyed from a machine outside of your body, however it can likewise originate from radioactive seeds and wires set close to your tumor.


Chemotherapy uses drugs that can kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy medications can be given alone, in combination with other chemotherapy drugs or other cancer medicines. Chemotherapy may expand the efficacy of radiation treatment, so the two are regularly consolidated.

Targeted drug therapy

Targeted therapy treats mouth cancer by adjusting parts of cancers that fuel their development. Cetuximab is one targeted treatment for treating head and neck tumors in specific circumstances. Cetuximab hinders the activity of a protein that is found in cancer cells.

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