Oral cancer is cancer found in the mouth or in the throat area at the back of the mouth. The main causes of this type of cancer are tobacco and alcohol use.
Possible symptoms of oral cancer include a sore on the lip or in the mouth that doesn't heal, a white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth, and numbness in the mouth area.
Your doctor will take a tissue sample from your mouth and may order other tests such as a CT scan or MRI, ultrasound, or endoscopic procedures.
Oral cancer is often curable. Treatment can also help control oral cancer, meaning it may help control symptoms or reduce its spread.
When side effects occur, they can interfere with your day-to-day life. These side effects can range from fatigue and hair loss to more serious problems. Your health care team will work to ease any side effects you experience.
There is no way to know for sure if you're going to get oral cancer. Certain factors can make you more likely than someone else to get it. These are called risk factors.
Learn more about oral cancer from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Physician Data Query (PDQ®) for patients. It includes information about prevention, screening, and treatment.