Skip to main content

Mouth Cancer

AMBULATORY CARE:

Mouth cancer

means cancer cells form on the lips or in the mouth or throat. The most common type of mouth cancer is squamous cell carcinoma.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • A sore that will not heal
  • A red or white patch in your mouth
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness on your lips or in your mouth
  • Loose teeth or a change in the way your teeth fit together
  • Pain or trouble opening your mouth
  • A lump in your mouth, throat, or neck
  • Trouble swallowing, change or loss of taste
  • A cough or sore throat that will not go away, or ear pain

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • Your mouth or throat is bleeding.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a fever
  • You are having a hard time swallowing.
  • You have warmth, pain or redness in your mouth or throat.

Call your doctor or oncologist if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may include any of the following:

  • Surgery is the preferred treatment for mouth cancer. Surgery is used to remove the cancer cells.
  • Radiotherapy is a procedure that uses radiation used to kill cancer cells and stop the cancer from spreading. It may be used with or without surgery.
  • Chemotherapy is a type of medicine that may be used with or without radiation to kill the cancer cells.
  • Biotherapy are medicines that may boost your immune system making it easier for your body to fight the cancer.
  • Medicine may be given to prevent or treat a bacterial infection, or to relieve pain. Medicine will depend on the treatment you have.

Manage mouth cancer:

  • Do not use tobacco. Tobacco products may make your symptoms and cancer worse. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol increases the risk for mouth cancer. Alcohol may also make your symptoms worse.
  • Eat healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Take small bites, and chew your food well before you swallow. Be especially careful when you eat meat, fruits, and vegetables. You may need to change what you eat during treatment. A dietitian may help to plan the best meals and snacks for you.
  • Drink liquids as directed. If you have nausea or diarrhea from cancer treatment, extra liquids may help decrease your risk for dehydration. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Exercise as directed. Exercise may help increase your energy level and appetite. Ask your healthcare provider how much exercise you need and which exercises are best for you.
    Walking for Exercise

For more information:

  • American Cancer Society
    250 Williams Street
    Atlanta , GA 30303
    Phone: 1- 800 - 227-2345
    Web Address: http://www.cancer.org

Follow up with your doctor or oncologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.