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Oropharyngeal Cancer

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What do I need to know about oropharyngeal cancer?

Oropharyngeal cancer forms at the back of the throat. Common places include the tonsils, base of the tongue, back and sides of the throat, and soft palate. Most oropharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). SCC is a slow growing cancer that usually does not spread. Squamous cells are found in the skin, organs, respiratory tract, and digestive tract.

Mouth Anatomy

What increases my risk for oropharyngeal cancer?

What are the signs and symptoms of oropharyngeal cancer?

How is oropharyngeal cancer diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about any symptoms you have and when they started. Tell your provider if you have a personal or family history of cancer. Your provider will feel your neck for lumps. You may also need any of the following:

How is oropharyngeal cancer treated?

What can I do to prevent or manage oropharyngeal cancer?

Where can I find support and more information?

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

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

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