Mouth & Throat Cancer: Symptoms & Treatment

Starting in the mouth and throat, oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer are expect to effect nearly 50,000 Americans in 2017. If you are one of the 50,000 newly diagnosed Americans, trust in the compassionate care of SSM Health’s cancer specialists. We’re here to tailor your oral cancer treatment, based on your unique medical needs. This particular type of cancer can affect the:

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Larynx or voice box
  • Throat
  • Hard palate
  • Salivary glands
  • Gums

The most common sites are the tongue, tonsils and throat, gums and mouth floor. While men are twice as likely to develop this type of cancer, other risk factors include the use of tobacco, alcohol consumption, human papilloma virus (HPV) and genetic conditions.

Signs & Symptoms of Mouth & Throat Cancer

The signs and symptoms associated with oral cancer can be caused by other cancers or conditions. If any of the below signs or symptoms persist for more than two weeks, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor or dentist as soon as possible. These possible signs and symptoms can include:

  • Sores in the mouth or on the lips that do not heal – most common symptom
  • Patches of red or white tissue on the interior of the mouth
  • Thickening or lumps in the cheek or on the lip, mouth, neck or throat
  • Persistent sore throat or ticklish throat
  • Change in voice or hoarseness
  • Mouth or tongue numbness
  • Mouth pain or bleeding
  • Difficulty in moving the mouth and/or swallowing or chewing
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Changing speech patterns
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Treating Mouth & Throat Cancer

While surgery is traditionally the first line of treatment for oral cancer, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be used. Ultimately your treatment plan will be based on a number of factors including the stage and location of the tumor.

After Mouth & Throat Cancer Treatment

Physical rehabilitation may be necessary after treating your cancer. You may need assistance in speech therapy , relearning to swallow and developing nutritional habits in spite of limited eating habits. It’s also important for you to follow up regularly with your doctor and dentist.

Whether you’re experiencing symptoms, recently diagnosed, or looking for a second opinion, know that you can trust the doctors at SSM Health. They will work with you, each step of your diagnosis, treatment and recovery journey. Make an appointment today and see how SSM Health can help.

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