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.
Tests and procedures used to diagnose cancer of the mouth include:
- Physical Exam:
- Examination of the lips, mouth, areas of irritation (such as sores and white patches).
- Removal of Tissue (Biopsy):
- If a suspicious area is found, with a tissue sample the cells can be analyzed for cancer or precancerous symptoms.