Mouth Cancer

Mouth Cancer: Oral Cavity and Oropharynx Image

Mouth cancer includes tongue cancer, lip cancer, cancers of the oral cavity and the oropharynx. Mouth cancer makes up two to four percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States with 30,000 new cases of mouth and tongue cancer diagnosed annually.

Mouth Cancer Survival Rates and Prognosis

Mouth, tongue, and oropharynx cancers generally have a poor prognosis. Approximately 8,000 Americans die every year from some form of oral cavity cancer. The overall five-year survival rate for mouth cancer is 55 percent, a statistic that has not improved in thirty years.

Mouth and tongue cancer are often well advanced at the time of diagnosis, and have often metastasized beyond the oral cavity. If metastasis has occurred, the prognosis for oral cavity cancer treatment is poor. Additionally, mouth and tongue cancer have high primary tumor recurrence rates. After a successful initial mouth cancer treatment, the chance of a second oral cavity tumor developing is as high as twenty percent.

Types of Mouth and Tongue Cancer

Ninety percent of mouth and tongue cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. The remaining ten percent of mouth or tongue cancers are caused by lymphomas, adenocarcinomas, and other, less common, forms of cancer.

Although cancer of the larynx and salivary gland cancer affect the oral cavity, they are considered diseases separate from mouth cancer.

Mouth and Tongue Cancer Terms: Oropharynx, Pharynx, and Oral Cavity

To better understand mouth cancer, it ‘s helpful to have an understanding of mouth-related medical terminology:

Mouth_Cancer_Mouth_Healthtree.comOral Cavity: The oral cavity comprises the first two-thirds of the mouth. The lips, the tongue, the roof of the mouth, the inner cheek lining, the floor of the mouth, the teeth, and the gums are all considered part of the oral cavity.

Pharynx: The pharynx is the hollow tube connecting the oral cavity and the nasal cavities to the larynx and the esophagus. The pharynx is divided into the upper nasopharynx, the middle oropharynx, and the lower hypopharynx.

Esophagus: The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach.

Oropharynx: The oropharynx is the portion of the pharynx connected to the oral cavity.

Resources

Fauci, A., Braunwald, E., Isselbacher, K., Wilson, J., Martin, J., Kasper, D., Hauser, S., Longo, D. (ed). Harrison ‘s Principles of Internal Medicine, 14th Edition.

McGraw-Hill, New York, 1998.National Cancer Institute. (updated 2002). What you need to know about oral cancer. [NIH Publication no. 97-1574]. Retrieved September 9, 2003, from www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/oral.

Oral Cancer Foundation. (nd). Oral cancer facts. Retrieved September 9, 2003, from www.oralcancer.org.Schneider, A., Szanto, P. Pathology, 2nd Edition. Lippincott Williams