What is mouth cancer?

Oral or mouth 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. This type of cancer may also be called oral cavity cancer or oropharyngeal cancer.

Month cancer

What are the symptoms of mouth cancer?

Symptoms of mouth cancer include sores or lumps on the lips or in your mouth. Talk with your doctor if you have any of these signs:

  • A sore on your lip or in your mouth that bleeds easily and doesn’t 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

See your GP or dentist if these symptoms don’t heal within three weeks, particularly if you drink or smoke heavily.

What causes mouth cancer?

Drinking and smoking heavily increases the risk of mouth cancer dramatically compared with the population at large

Infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV) – HPV is the virus that causes genital warts

How is mouth cancer treated?

Mouth 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 may be used. You may get chemotherapy. Or chemotherapy and targeted therapy may be used together.

Sometimes a clinical trial offers the best treatment choice. Your medical team will let you know if there is a clinical trial that might be good for you.

It can be hard to accept that you have mouth cancer. It’s normal to feel sad or angry. At totally Health, we want to help people feel more motivated, confident and in control of managing their own health, so they can make changes that help them feel better.

We help people with all types of cancer related health issues. We are here for you – when you need us. We listen. We understand. We help. We want you to live your life to the full, feel good and take charge of your health.

If you would like to know more about our service and how we could help you, please call 0333 004 0043.