Mouth cancer

Mouth cancer refers to cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth. Mouth cancer can occur on the:

  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Tongue
  • Inside lining of the cheeks
  • Roof of the mouth
  • Floor of the mouth

Cancer that occurs on the inside of the mouth is sometimes called oral cancer or oral cavity cancer.

Mouth cancer is one of several types of cancer grouped in a category called head and neck cancers. Mouth cancer and other head and neck cancers are often treated similarly.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Prevention

Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer may include:

  • A sore that doesn't heal
  • A lump or thickening of the skin or lining of your mouth
  • A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Tongue pain
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Difficult or painful chewing
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Feeling that something is caught in your throat

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor or dentist if you have any persistent signs and symptoms that bother you and last more than two weeks. Your doctor will likely investigate other more common causes for your signs and symptoms first, such as an infection.

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