Oral cavity cancers

Oral cavity cancers, also known as mouth cancers or oral cancers, are a group of malignant tumors that develop in the oral cavity, which includes the lips, tongue, inner lining of the cheeks, gums, and the floor and roof of the mouth. These cancers can be very serious and potentially life-threatening, but early detection and treatment can significantly improve outcomes. Here's some important content about oral cavity cancers:

Types of Oral Cavity Cancers:

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: The most common type of oral cavity cancer, accounting for about 90% of cases, originates in the squamous cells lining the mouth.

Causes and Risk Factors:

  • Tobacco and Alcohol Use: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are the leading risk factors for oral cavity cancers.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Some oral cancers are associated with HPV infection.
  • Poor Diet: A diet low in fruits and vegetables may increase the risk.
  • Chronic Irritation: Chewing tobacco, betel quid, and chronic irritation from sharp teeth or dentures can contribute.
  • Sun Exposure: Lip cancers are often related to excessive sun exposure.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Persistent Mouth Sores: Sores that do not heal within two weeks.
  • White or Red Patches: Irregular patches in the mouth.
  • Lumps or Thickening: Unexplained lumps or thickening in the mouth or on the lips.
  • Pain or Numbness: Persistent pain, numbness, or bleeding in the mouth.
  • Difficulty Swallowing or Speaking: Changes in voice or swallowing difficulties.


Physical Examination: The doctor will examine the mouth, throat, and neck.

Biopsy: Tissue samples are taken and examined to confirm cancer.


The stage of oral cavity cancer is determined to assess the extent of cancer and plan treatment.

Treatment Options:

  • Surgery: Often the primary treatment, which may involve removing the tumor or affected tissue.
  • Radiation Therapy: High-energy rays are used to kill cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: Drugs are used to kill cancer cells or stop their growth.
  • Targeted Therapy: Specific drugs target certain molecules involved in cancer growth.
  • Immunotherapy: Boosting the body's immune system to fight cancer.


The outlook for oral cavity cancer depends on the stage at diagnosis and the treatment provided. Early detection and treatment offer the best chance for a favorable outcome.


  • Oral Hygiene: Maintain good oral hygiene, including regular dental check-ups.
  • Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol: Reducing or eliminating tobacco and alcohol use can lower the risk.
  • Safe Sun Exposure: Use lip protection and sunscreen on the lips when in the sun.
  • HPV Vaccination: Consider vaccination to protect against HPV-related cancers.

Support and Rehabilitation:

Many oral cavity cancer survivors may need support and rehabilitation to regain normal speech and swallowing functions.