Cancer of the mouth and throat refers to the development of a cancerous tumor within the lips, cheeks, salivary glands, gums, teeth, tongue, tonsils or nearly any other area within these structures. Oral (mouth) and pharyngeal (throat) cancers most commonly affect patients over the age of 40 who smoke or chew tobacco. Excessive alcohol consumption, a family history of head and neck cancer, and exposure to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) may also increase a patient’s risk for mouth and throat cancer.
Symptoms of oral and throat cancers can vary depending on the type and location of the cancer, but may include:
- white patches in the mouth
- abnormal bump or texture
- a sore on the lips
- loose teeth
- difficulty swallowing
In order to determine which type of treatment is most appropriate for each patient’s individual condition, your doctor will first determine the stage of the cancer through a series of diagnostic exams. A customized treatment plan is then developed, which may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of these approaches. Surgery for mouth and throat cancer involves a removal of the tumor and a small margin of surrounding tissue to ensure that all cancerous cells have been successfully eliminated.
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