Alternate Names : Squamous Cell Cancer of the Oral Cavity, Mouth and Throat Cancer
Oral cancer is a group of abnormal cells that involves the mouth
or the oropharynx. The oropharynx is the part of the throat at the back of the
What is going on in the body?
Oral cancer occurs in the top layer of cells lining the mouth and oropharynx.
The abnormal cells may be found in the lips, tongue, or inside of the cheeks.
The tumor may also involve the floor or roof of the mouth, the tonsils, or the
oropharynx. Oral cancer may start as a sore that is not yet cancerous. Over
time, probably years, it can develop into oral cancer.
Oral cancers can grow outward as a wart-like mass. Or they can be ulcers that
invade inwardly. The longer that oral cancers grow untreated, the more likely
they are to metastasize, or
spread throughout the body.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
Oral cancer can occur at any age, but is most common in people
older than the age of 45. Some of the factors that increase a person's risk for
oral cancer are as follows:
eating a poor diet
exposing the lips to sun
having gum disease, such as
gingivitis and periodontitis
tobacco, and using snuff
simplex and the human
papillomavirus are being investigated as possible causes of oral