Oral Cancer


Oral cancer can form in any part of the mouth or throat. Most oral cancers begin in the tongue and in the floor of the mouth. Anyone can get oral cancer, but the risk is higher if you are male, over age 40, use tobacco or alcohol or have a history of head or neck cancer. Frequent sun exposure is also a risk for lip cancer.

Symptoms of oral cancer include

  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • A mouth sore that won't heal
  • Bleeding in your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Problems or pain with swallowing
  • A lump in your neck
  • An earache
Oral cancer treatments may include surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Some patients have a combination of treatments.

Source: MedlinePlus

Note: This topic was prepared to help consumers find reliable health resources on the web. This site is not responsible for the information on other sites. The information here — and on all websites — is not intended to be a substitute for care given to you by a health professional.

Recommended Reading

The Oral Cancer Foundation
A national nonprofit entity, the foundation is designed to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy and support. This site provides hundreds of pages of information about the rates of occurrence, risk factors that lead to oral cancer, treatments, current research and current news.

National Cancer Institute
This site has a wide range of information that is updated regularly. People can ask questions online and get immediate help through "LiveHelp" online chats. Many NCI booklets and fact sheets can be viewed and ordered here. Información en Español.

American Cancer Society
Information about cancer, cancer treatment, support groups and services, and special health needs of patients and survivors.

Understanding and Reducing Your Risk

Oral Cancer: Causes and Prevention, National Cancer Institute
This has information on the causes of oral cancer, including tobacco use, exposure to sun, alcohol use, and history of head and neck cancer.

Oral Cancer, American Dental Association
In addition to general information, this site stresses the importance of early detection and what you and your dentist should be on the lookout for.

Oral Cancer, CDC
This site features articles on oral health and oral cancer that highlight the latest on prevention and treatment.

Information and Support for People with Oral Cancer

Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer
This patient-directed, self-help organization is dedicated to meeting the needs of oral and head and neck cancer patients. SPOHNC, founded in 1991 by an oral cancer survivor, addresses the broad emotional, physical and humanistic needs of this population.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
This link provides patient information on many issues related to oral cancer, including an explanation of the oral cancer exam and treatment options. Información en Español.

Resources in Larimer County

Quit Tobacco Program, Health District of Northern Larimer County
Whether you smoke or use chew, the Health District's Quit Tobacco program can work for you. This program offers group classes and individual support, as well as free nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges as appropriate while participating. The program is staffed by tobacco treatment specialists. Six-week classes are held regularly throughout the year, and individual sessions are available at any time. Sliding fees are available for Health District residents who qualify.

Patient Navigator Program, UCHealth
The Patient Navigator Program is a free service of University of Colorado Health for residents of northern Colorado. Trained Patient Navigators are familiar with local and national resources for cancer and can provide support, information and guidance to patients and their families. To arrange a consultation, call 970-237-7700. The program also provides help exploring treatment options and offering guidance regarding complementary healthcare practices during treatment and recovery. Patient Navigators, however, do not give medical advice.

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