Oral cancer can appear anywhere in the mouth, including the inside of the cheeks and the gums. It is a type of head and neck cancer.

It often comes under the category of oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Oropharyngeal cancer affects the back of the mouth and the lining of the throat.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), around 53,000 Americans will receive a diagnosis of oral or oropharyngeal cancer in 2019.

The average age at diagnosis is 62 years old, but around 25% of cases happen before the age of 55, say the ACS. The disease is more likely to affect males than females.


Oral cancers include cancers of the:

  • inner lining of the cheek
  • gums
  • floor of the mouth
  • hard and soft palate
  • Lips
  • Tongue

Your dentist is often the first healthcare provider to notice signs of oral cancer. Getting biannual dental check-ups can keep your dentist up to date on the health of your mouth.


The earliest symptoms of oral cancer may be confused with other benign issues, such as a toothache or cavity. Other common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • swelling, bumps, crusts, or eroded areas on the gums, lips, or inside the mouth
  • unexplained bleeding
  • unexplained weight loss
  • smooth red, white, or dotted patches in the mouth
  • numbness of the neck, mouth, or face
  • a feeling that something is stuck in the back of the throat
  • dryness in the throat or a prolonged sore throat
  • change in voice
  • ear pain
  • trouble biting, gulping, talking, or moving the tongue or jaw
  • change in the way your dentures or teeth fit together

If you have one or more of these symptoms for longer than two weeks, you should see a dentist or medical specialist for an oral exam. Often, these symptoms don’t indicate oral cancer. But it’s important to have these signs checked to ensure you get an early and accurate diagnosis, especially if it’s cancer.


The stage of cancer refers to how far it has spread.

In the earliest stages, there may be precancerous cells that could eventually become cancerous.

This is sometimes called stage 0 cancer or carcinoma in situ. A doctor may advise a person to stop smoking and to monitor for further changes.

  1. Localized cancer only affects one area and has not spread to other tissues.
  2. Regional cancer has spread to nearby tissues.
  3. Distant cancer has spread to other parts of the body, including, possibly, the lungs or liver.

Untreated, oral cancer may start in one part of the mouth, and then spread to other parts of the mouth. It may also spread to the head, neck, and the rest of the body.


Mouth cancer and its treatment can lead to a range of complications.

Complications after surgery include the risk of:

  1. bleeding
  2. infection
  3. pain
  4. difficulty eating and swallowing


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www.scholarscentral.org/submissions/clinical-oncology-cancer-research.html or send as an e-mail attachment to the Editorial office at clinoncol@alliedacademies.org.


Amalia Azzariti

Managing Editor

Journal Of Clinical Oncology and Cancer Research.