What is mouth and oropharyngeal cancer?

Mouth and oropharyngeal cancer develops when abnormal cells in the mouth and oropharynx start to divide and grow in an uncontrolled way. Find out where it starts and how common it is.

Symptoms of mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

Symptoms of mouth and oropharyngeal cancer include a mouth ulcer that doesn't heal or a swelling or lump in the neck. 

Getting diagnosed with mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

Your GP will ask you about your symptoms and they might examine you. They may arrange tests or a referral to a specialist.

Survival for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

Survival depends on many factors including the stage and grade of your cancer. 

Treatment for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

Your treatment depends on where in your mouth or oropharynx your cancer is, the type, how big it is, whether it has spread anywhere else in your body and your general health. 

Stages, types and grades for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

The stage of a cancer tells you about its size and whether it has spread. The type means the type of cell the cancer started from. The grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.

Risks and causes

We don't know what causes most mouth or oropharyngeal cancers. But there are some factors that can increase your risk of developing it. 

About advanced mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

Advanced mouth and oropharyngeal cancer is cancer that started in the mouth or oropharynx and has spread to another part of the body. 

Research and clinical trials for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

All treatments must be fully researched before they can be adopted as standard treatment for everyone.

Living with mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

Getting practical and emotional support can help you cope with your diagnosis, and life during and after treatment.

Last reviewed: 
08 Jul 2024
Next review due: 
08 Jul 2027