Oral Cancer is a type of  cancer of the head and neck that affect the tissues of the Oral Cavity. It is most often seen in the mouth near the lips or tongue. But can also be seen in the gums [gingiva] or roof of mouth [palate].

Each year almost 35,000 oral cancers are diagnosed in the US. Most however, will be diagnosed in the late stages of disease.

Public awareness is often low and can be a significant factor in this disease.

Types of Oral Cancers:

–  Primary lesion for oral tissues
–  Metastasis from another cancer in the body
–  Cancer extended from the nasal cavity or maxillary sinus
–  Teratoma or Adenocarcinoma from salivary glands
–  Lymphoma from tonsillar or other lymphoid tissues
–  Squamous cell carcinomas – [are 90% of all oral cancers]
–  Others


–  Skin lesions, lump, or ulcer

1.)  Found inside mouth on lip, tongue or other area
2.)  Pale in color
3.)  Dark in color
4.) or other discoloration

–  Often painless in the beginning
–  Sensation or burning as tumor advances
–  White patches  (Leukoplakia)
–  Red patches  (Erythroplakia)
–  Problems swallowing
–  Other masses or sores
–  Tongue problems


–  Mutations of genes
–  Tobacco

*  Associated with 70% of all oral cancers
*  Cigarettes, cigars, pipes are types
*  Chewing tobacco or snuff causes increased number of oral cancers

–  Alcohol

* High risk activity
* Increased risk with combo of Smoking and Alcohol together

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

* Especially subtype #16
* Is a known risk factor
* Same subtype as a number of cervical cancers

–  Chewing of betel and paan in Asian cultures

–  others


1.)  Recognize of symptoms or concern
2.)  Examination of mouth
3.)  Biopsy or skin sampling of affected area
4.)  Microscopic evaluation of tissue


Surgical removal of cancer

Types of surgery

1.)  Glossectomy  – removal of tongue

* Hemi – full removal
* Partial

2.)  Moh’s procedure

3.)  Maxillectomy

4.)  Mandibulectomy  –  removal of lower jaw parital or full

5.)  Neck dissection

6.)  Combination of procedures

7.)  Reconstructive surgery

8.)  Bone grafts and surgical flaps

Radiation therapy

* Often performed along with surgery depending on extent


* Can be used in combination with other treatment
* Used to extend life
* Used as palliative

.  Cetuximab  (helpful in squamous cell head and neck cancers)

Nutrition – is essential during cancer process

Psychology – is essential for mental stability

Rehabilitation  –  is essential after surgery or bone grafts as needed