Cancer in the mouth, also called oral or mouth cancer, are cancers that develop in any part of the mouth, including the oral tongue, ventral tongue, vasive tongue, gums and lips.
In 2022, the American Cancer Society estimates about 54,000 new cases of the oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, with cases more than twice as common in males as females.
More than 90 percent of cancers that occur in the oral cavity are squamous cell carcinomas. Squamous cell carcinoma develops when some squamous cells mutate and become abnormal. Other types of oral cancer include verrucous carcinoma, minor salivary gland carcinomas and lymphoma.
Common symptoms include:
Different cancers have different risk factors, some of which can be changed, and some that can’t be changed.
Having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that you will get the disease. And some people who get the disease may have few or no known risk factors. For cancers of the mouth, risk factors include:
Different treatments might be used either alone or in combination, depending on the stage and location of the tumor. In general, surgery is the first treatment for cancers of the oral cavity and may be followed by radiation or combined chemotherapy and radiation.