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Oral cancer can form in any part of the mouth. Most oral cancers begin in the flat cells that cover the surfaces of your mouth, tongue, and lips. Anyone can get oral cancer, but the risk is higher if you are male, use tobacco, drink lots of alcohol, have HPV, or have a history of head or neck cancer. Frequent sun exposure is also a risk factor for lip cancer.
Symptoms of oral cancer include
- White or red patches in your mouth
- A mouth sore that won't heal
- Bleeding in your mouth
- Loose teeth
- Problems or pain with swallowing
- A lump in your neck
- An earache
Tests to diagnose oral cancer include a physical exam, endoscopy, biopsy, and imaging tests. Oral cancer treatments may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Some patients have a combination of treatments.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
Diagnosis and Tests
- Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- General Information about Lip and Oral Cavity Cancer (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
Statistics and Research
- Cancer of the Oral Cavity and Pharynx (National Cancer Institute)
- What Are the Key Statistics about Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancers? (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: miRNAs expression of oral squamous cell carcinoma patients: Validation of two...
- Article: Significance of immunohistochemical overexpression of cyclooxygenase-2 in overall and disease-free survival...
- Article: Interventions for the treatment of oral and oropharyngeal cancers: surgical treatment.
- Oral Cancer -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- American Cancer Society
- Find a Cancer Doctor (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- Find a Surgeon (American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons)
- Find an ENT (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
- National Cancer Institute Also in Spanish
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Also in Spanish