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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Mouth cancer

Mouth cancer is a type of oral cancer that develops in any part of the mouth, including the lips, gums and tongue.

Common mouth cancer symptoms

Symptoms of mouth cancer are very similar to those associated with other forms of oral cancer. It can often be mistaken for a cold that won’t go away, or a persistent sore in the mouth. Other mouth cancer symptoms and signs may include:

  • Persistent tongue and/or jaw pain
  • A lump or thickening in the inside of the mouth
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth
  • A sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat that does not go away
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue

NOTE: These symptoms may be attributed to a number of conditions other than cancer. It is important to consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Advanced treatments for mouth cancer

Common treatments for mouth cancer include:

Surgery: Tumor resection involves an operation to remove the entire tumor from the mouth. Depending on the location of the tumor, a small incision may be made in the neck or jawbone for easier removal. When a tumor is surgically removed, it may be necessary to reconstruct part of the mouth. In these cases, our surgeons can perform pedicle or free flap reconstruction.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy treats cancerous tissues of the mouth with targeted radiation technology designed to spare healthy tissue and shorten procedure times. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and brachytherapy are the two most common types of mouth cancer radiation therapies.

Chemotherapy: Often combined with radiation therapy, chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to destroy cancer cells throughout the body. Different chemotherapy drugs can be combined to attack cancer cells at varying stages of their growth cycles and decrease the chance of drug resistance.

Targeted drug therapy: Targeted drug therapy targets cancerous cells to interfere with cell growth on a molecular level. It may be combined with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy as part of your mouth cancer treatment plan.


Last Revised: 01/29/2018

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