Cancer, Mouth, Throat

Tongue cancer is placed together with mouth cancers, and is the sixth most common cancer in the world. In the United States, about 8,000 people die annually from it. Mouth cancer is largely a preventable disease, because the principle factors are smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and excessive sunshine (lip cancer).

Men are more often affected than women. Smokers are six times more likely to get mouth cancers, while those chewing tobacco have a 50-fold increase in risk. Using tobacco and alcohol together increases the risk more than either alone.

Avoidance of these aggravating factors is, of course, most important. So is being aware of changes in the lips, palate, tongue, gums and cheeks. Careful checking with the fingers and a good look at the mouth in the mirror can be helpful. Do not neglect lesions that bleed, or are red or white. Lumps, ulcers and thickenings must be checked. Regular visits to a good dentist will screen for mouth cancers.

When mouth cancer is detected early, treatment is much more successful than when it has spread to the lymph nodes.

Another name for throat cancer is cancer of the pharynx. The pharynx is the hollow tube that starts behind the tongue and connects to the tube going to the stomach (esophagus). Alcohol use, smoking, and chewing tobacco also greatly increase the risk of throat cancer. In throat cancer, tumors are often found on the tonsils and at the base of the tongue.


Cancer, Mouth, Throat can lead to


Cancer / Risk - General Measures

Please see the subject Cancer / Risk Reduction – General Measures

Recommendations for Cancer, Mouth, Throat



As with all cancers, the earlier the cancer is found the better your chances are of effective treatment. The type of treatment you receive will depend on the type and size of the cancer and your general health. Most cancers of the mouth and throat are treated with surgery. The part of your mouth or throat you have removed will depend on the location of the tumour. An operation to remove the tumor may be all the treatment you need. Some people may also need radiotherapy, either on it ‘s own on in addition to surgery. Some claims are bieng made that intense radiation alone may be effective without causing the consequences that major surgery would cause, like the lose of your voice box.

Chemotherapy may be used either in addition to surgery or radiotherapy. Your doctor will discuss all options with you.


Proven definite or direct link
Highly recommended



Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.


Lesion on the skin or mucous membrane.

Lymph Nodes

Small, bean-shaped nodes at various points throughout the body that function to filter the lymph fluid and attempt to destroy the microorganisms and abnormal cells which collect there. The most common locations are the neck (both sides and front), armpit and groin, but also under the jaw and behind the ears. Swollen or painful lymph nodes generally result from localized or systemic infection, abscess formation, or malignancy. Other causes of enlarged lymph nodes are extremely rare. Physical examination for lymph nodes includes pressing on them to check for size, texture, warmth, tenderness and mobility. Most lymph nodes can not be felt until they become swollen, and then will only be tender when pressed or massaged. A lymph node that is painful even without touching indicates greater swelling. Lymph nodes can usually be distinguished from other growths because they generally feel small, smooth, round or oval-shaped and somewhat mobile when attempts are made to push them sideways. Because less fat covers the lymph nodes in children, they are easier to feel, even when they are not busy filtering germs or making antibodies. Children’s nodes enlarge faster, get bigger in response to an infection and stay swollen longer than an adult's.


A hollow, muscular, J-shaped pouch located in the upper part of the abdomen to the left of the midline. The upper end (fundus) is large and dome-shaped; the area just below the fundus is called the body of the stomach. The fundus and the body are often referred to as the cardiac portion of the stomach. The lower (pyloric) portion curves downward and to the right and includes the antrum and the pylorus. The function of the stomach is to begin digestion by physically breaking down food received from the esophagus. The tissues of the stomach wall are composed of three types of muscle fibers: circular, longitudinal and oblique. These fibers create structural elasticity and contractibility, both of which are needed for digestion. The stomach mucosa contains cells which secrete hydrochloric acid and this in turn activates the other gastric enzymes pepsin and rennin. To protect itself from being destroyed by its own enzymes, the stomach’s mucous lining must constantly regenerate itself.


Commonly called the "food pipe", it is a narrow muscular tube, about nine and a half inches long, that begins below the tongue and ends at the stomach. It consists of an outer layer of fibrous tissue, a middle layer containing smoother muscle, and an inner membrane, which contains numerous tiny glands. It has muscular sphincters at both its upper and lower ends. The upper sphincter relaxes to allow passage of swallowed food that is then propelled down the esophagus into the stomach by the wave-like peristaltic contractions of the esophageal muscles. There is no protective mucosal layer, so problems can arise when digestive acids reflux into the esophagus from the stomach.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.