Oral cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in any part of the mouth or lips. Most oral cancers start in the lining of the lips or mouth where you have thin, flat cells called squamous cells.
Risk factors (things that increase your risk) for oral cancer include smoking (or using smokeless tobacco) and heavy alcohol use. Other risk factors are being male, using marijuana, or having human papillomavirus (HPV). For cancers of the lip, exposure over a long period of time to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or from tanning beds increases risk.
Palliative care helps relieve symptoms that bother the patient and helps improve the patient's quality of life.
The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. Palliative care is meant to prevent or treat symptoms, side effects, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems caused by a disease or its treatment.
Palliative care for patients with advanced cancer includes nutrition therapy (see the Treatment of Symptoms...
Symptoms for oral cancer include sores or lumps on the lips or in your mouth. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these signs:
A sore on your lip or in your mouth that bleeds easily and
does not heal
A lump or thickening on your lips, gums, cheek, or in your mouth
A white or red patch on your gums, your tongue, tonsils, or
the lining of your mouth
A sore throat or a feeling that something
is caught in your throat
Unexplained difficulty chewing,
swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
Numbness or pain in your tongue or
other areas of your lips or mouth
Swelling in your jaw that makes your
teeth loose or your dentures fit poorly
Changes in your voice
Dry mouth (xerostomia)
Your dentist or doctor may look closely at your lips, mouth, or throat to check for signs of oral cancer. Other tests may be needed if there are possible signs of cancer, such as a biopsy, an X-ray, or an MRI.
Oral cancer is usually treated with surgery and radiation therapy. Your treatment will depend on the stage of your cancer and your other health factors. If the cancer is advanced, other treatments such as chemotherapy may be used.
For additional information on oral
cancer, see the following topics: