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Oral Cavity Cancer (Mouth Cancer)

Cancer that forms in tissues of the oral cavity (the mouth).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Oral Cavity Cancer

Lip and oral cavity cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lips or mouth.

The oral cavity includes the following:

Read more about Oral Cavity Cancer

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Venous Thromboembolism: Reducing the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism (Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism) in Patients Admitted to Hospital

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a term used to include the formation of a blood clot (a thrombus) in a vein which may dislodge from its site of origin to travel in the blood, a phenomenon called embolism. A thrombus most commonly occurs in the deep veins of the legs; this is called deep vein thrombosis. A dislodged thrombus that travels to the lungs is known as a pulmonary embolism.

Surgical interventions for the treatment of oral cavity (mouth) and oropharyngeal (throat) cancers

The studies in this review focused on patients with cancers in the oral cavity. These studies have not shown that surgery to remove the lymph nodes in the neck, which appear to be cancer‐free, at the same time as the cancer is removed is associated with longer survival, but there is evidence that early neck surgery reduces recurrence of the cancer. Neither is there evidence that removal of all the lymph nodes in the neck results in longer survival compared to selective surgical removal of affected lymph nodes. Although removal of lymph nodes from the neck is associated with significant adverse effects related to appearance and functions such as eating, drinking and speaking, the studies in this review did not measure quality of life.

Interventions for the treatment of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer: radiotherapy

Oral cavity (mouth) cancer is usually detected earlier and treated with surgery and radiotherapy. Oropharyngeal (throat) cancer may be at an advanced stage when it is found and is treated with radiotherapy. Both surgery and radiotherapy may be associated with disfigurement and decreased ability to eat, drink and talk. Recent advances show that by altering how the radiotherapy is given to patients, improvements in overall survival can be achieved. The new methods of giving radiotherapy are called accelerated fractionation or hyperfractionation. However, they may be associated with an increase in side effects.

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Summaries for consumers

Surgical interventions for the treatment of oral cavity (mouth) and oropharyngeal (throat) cancers

The studies in this review focused on patients with cancers in the oral cavity. These studies have not shown that surgery to remove the lymph nodes in the neck, which appear to be cancer‐free, at the same time as the cancer is removed is associated with longer survival, but there is evidence that early neck surgery reduces recurrence of the cancer. Neither is there evidence that removal of all the lymph nodes in the neck results in longer survival compared to selective surgical removal of affected lymph nodes. Although removal of lymph nodes from the neck is associated with significant adverse effects related to appearance and functions such as eating, drinking and speaking, the studies in this review did not measure quality of life.

Interventions for the treatment of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer: radiotherapy

Oral cavity (mouth) cancer is usually detected earlier and treated with surgery and radiotherapy. Oropharyngeal (throat) cancer may be at an advanced stage when it is found and is treated with radiotherapy. Both surgery and radiotherapy may be associated with disfigurement and decreased ability to eat, drink and talk. Recent advances show that by altering how the radiotherapy is given to patients, improvements in overall survival can be achieved. The new methods of giving radiotherapy are called accelerated fractionation or hyperfractionation. However, they may be associated with an increase in side effects.

Clinical assessment to screen for the detection of oral cavity cancer and potentially malignant disorders in apparently healthy adults

Background: The early detection and excision of potentially malignant disorders (PMD) of the lip and oral cavity that require intervention may reduce malignant transformations (though will not totally eliminate malignancy occurring), or if malignancy is detected during surveillance, there is some evidence that appropriate treatment may improve survival rates.

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Terms to know

Buccal Mucosa (Mouth Mucosa)
The inner lining of the cheeks.
Gingiva (Gums)
The tissue of the upper and lower jaws that surrounds the base of the teeth. Also called gums.
Hard Palate
The front, bony part of the roof of the mouth.
Lip
Fleshy fold which surrounds the opening of the mouth.
Oral Cavity (Mouth)
Refers to the mouth. It includes the lips, the lining inside the cheeks and lips, the front two thirds of the tongue, the upper and lower gums, the floor of the mouth under the tongue, the bony roof of the mouth, and the small area behind the wisdom teeth.
Retromolar Trigone
The small area behind the wisdom teeth.
Tissue
A group of cells that act together to carry out a specific function in the body. Examples include muscle tissue, nervous system tissue (including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves), and connective tissue (including ligaments, tendons, bones, and fat). Organs are made up of tissues.
Tongue
Large muscle on the floor of the mouth that manipulates food for chewing and swallowing. It is the main organ of taste, and assists in forming speech sounds.

More about Oral Cavity Cancer

Photo of an adult man

Also called: Malignant tumour of the mouth, Malignant tumour of the oral cavity, Cancer of the oral cavity, Malignant tumor of the mouth, Malignant tumor of the oral cavity, Oral cancer

Other terms to know: See all 8
Buccal Mucosa (Mouth Mucosa), Gingiva (Gums), Hard Palate

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