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Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer


Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer


The Oral cavity is a type of cancer that starts in the mouth whereas Oropharyngeal Cancer begins in the throat right behind the oral cavity. These are the 2 most common types of cancer in the head and neck region.

Oral cavity cancer can develop in several parts of your mouth such as –

  • Lips and cheek lining
  • Upper and lower gums 
  • Roof of the mouth also called as the hard palate
  • Floor of the mouth beneath the tongue
  • Front two-thirds of the tongue
  • The retromolar trigone is an area behind wisdom teeth

Oropharyngeal Cancer includes regions such as –

  • The back of the mouth also called the soft palate
  • Part of the throat behind the mouth
  • Tonsils
  • The base of the tongue

Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer

Risk factors

There are certain risk factors that can increase the chances of developing oral and Oropharyngeal cancer such as –

  1. Tobacco useTobacco contains nicotine a carcinogenic substance that is highly addictive and is linked to 85% of head and neck cancer. The use of tobacco such as cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, and snuff is the most common factor for various types of cancer.
  2. Alcohol consumptionExcessive and Frequent consumption of alcohol can increase your risk of developing head and neck cancer.
  3. Gender Men are more prone to developing head and neck cancer than women.
  4. Age People above the age group of 45 years have an increased risk of developing head and neck cancer.
  5. Sun exposureHigh and direct exposure to the sun can increase the risk of developing cancer in the lip area.
  6. Human papillomavirus (HPV) Oropharyngeal cancer is linked to the HPV virus, especially cancer in the tonsils and bottom of the tongue.
  7. Poor oral hygieneLack of oral and dental care can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. People consuming tobacco and alcohol have an increased risk of oral and oropharyngeal cancer due to poor oral hygiene.
  8. Poor diet and nutritionA diet with fewer fruits and vegetables can cause vitamin A deficiency. Also, regular consumption of betel nuts can increase a person’s risk of oral and oropharyngeal cancer as it contains a mild stimulant that is popular in many regions of Asia.
  9. Weakened immune systemPeople with low immunity are also at higher risk of acquiring oral and oropharyngeal cancer.

Symptoms and Signs

The signs and symptoms of oral and oropharyngeal cancer are not noticeable at the starting stages of cancer. Some signs and symptoms are usually detected by a dentist during a routine checkup. However, the most common signs that can be linked to oral and oropharyngeal cancer are as follows –

  • Lip, mouth, neck, or throat lump.
  • Red or white patch on the gums, tonsils, or tongue.
  • Difficulty in swallowing or chewing
  • Bad breath
  • Change in voice
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Pain or bleeding in the mouth
  • Ear or jaw pain
  • Loosening of teeth 
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Dentures that no longer fit
  • Numbness in the mouth

If you’re experiencing the above symptoms for a prolonged period of time then it is better to consult a specialist for the necessary evaluation and diagnosis of your symptoms.


There are many tests that can be used to diagnose oral or oropharyngeal cancer. The test to be performed for diagnosis are determined by type, symptoms, age, health, and medical tests. 

The diagnostic tests performed for the detection of oral or oropharyngeal cancer are –

  • Physical examination The doctor examines for signs such as lumps in the neck, lips, gums, and cheek area. A complete medical history examination will also help in the evaluation of symptoms and risk factors in a patient. 
  • Endoscopy It allows the doctor to examine the head and neck area through a thin flexible tube called an endoscopy. It is inserted through the nose to examine the head and neck areas. 
  • Biopsy It is the removal of a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. A biopsy helps in the effective diagnosis of symptoms and conditions for further treatments.
  • HPV testingHPV testing is done on the tissue removed for biopsy. The presence of HPV helps in determining the stage and type of cancer for effective treatment options. 
  • Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) scanIt takes pictures of the inside of the body using x-rays. It provides a three-dimensional picture of the targeted area. The scan helps in determining the tumor’s size and also for analyzing if the tumor is spread to other parts of the lymph nodes in the neck or lower backbone.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) It uses magnetic fields for detailed images of a specific area. It examines the tonsils and bottom part of the tongue for evaluating the spread of cancer.
  • Ultrasound It uses sound waves to create detailed pictures of internal organs. This type of cancer helps in examining the spread of cancer in the neck area.


The range of treatment options available after the evaluation of the medical condition through diagnostic tests are –

Surgery It is often the recommended choice for treating early stages of oral and oropharyngeal cancer. After the targeted cancer is removed reconstructive surgery will be performed to restore the functionalities and features of the specific organs.

Radiation Therapy It uses high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells for stopping the spread of growth in the body.

Chemotherapy It is an anti-cancer drug that is injected through a vein or mouth to destroy cancer cells. 

Targeted TherapyIt directly targets a specific protein that helps cancer cells to grow, spread, and multiply to different organs of the body. It is used to destroy cancer cells at the location to avoid the further spread of cancer.

Immunotherapy It boosts the patient’s immune system for destroying cancer cells more effectively.

It is important to discuss all the treatment options with your doctor for effective results. Different types of treatments are considered either alone or as a combination depending on the stage and location of cancer.


Uhapo has the best medical team of highly-qualified cancer doctors and specialists to treat cancer with care. Our treatment is well-focused on aiding patients with necessary diagnostic and therapeutic services. If you’ve concerns regarding your treatments and disorders then you can connect to Uhapo’s contact page – https://www.uhapo.co.in/contact/ or 24/7 Support Number +91-9137-44-1392 for supportive care regarding your necessary issues with cancer.

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