Cancer of the lip and oral cavity is a disease in which cancerous (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the lip or mouth. The oral cavity includes the: front two-thirds of the tongue upper and lower gums (the gingiva) lining of the inside of the cheeks and lips (the buccal mucosa) bottom (floor) of the mouth under the tongue bony top of the mouth (the hard palate) small area behind the wisdom teeth (the retromolar trigone)
The symptoms of lip and oral cancer sometimes resemble those of other conditions or problems, so it is important to see a physician to get an accurate diagnosis. Often lip and oral cavity cancers are found by dentists during routine examinations. The symptoms of oral cavity cancer include the following: A sore on the lip or in the mouth that does not heal A lump on the lip or in the mouth or throat A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth Unusual bleeding, pain, or numbness in the mouth A sore throat that does not go away Feeling as if something is caught in the throat Pain or difficulty in swallowing or chewing Swelling of the jaw Change in voice Pain in the ear Change in fit of dentures
The doctor will also feel the throat for lumps. If necessary, the patient may be placed under a general anesthetic (asleep) so that the doctor can do a very thorough examination of areas of the head and neck. The chance of recovery (prognosis) and choice of treatment for lip and oral cavity cancer depend on where the cancer is in the lip or mouth, whether the cancer is just in the lip or mouth or has spread to other tissues (the stage), and the patient’s general health.
Prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on the following: The stage of the cancer. Where the tumor is in the lip or oral cavity. Whether the cancer has spread to blood vessels. For patients who smoke, the chance of recovery is better if they stop smoking before beginning radiation therapy.