Mouth cancer can occur on your lips, gums or tongue, on the inside lining of your cheeks or on the roof or floor of your mouth. Alcohol use, tobacco of any kind (including chewing tobacco or cigars) and sun exposure to the lips can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer. You are also at greater risk if you have the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV). Symptoms can include a mouth sore that does not heal or difficulty swallowing or chewing.
“You may need mouth surgery to remove the tumor,” says Veena D. Divecha, MD, radiation oncologist at Saint Francis Medical Center. “However, if we catch the cancer in the early stages, you may only need radiation therapy.”
Radiation therapy can be combined with chemotherapy, but that increases your chances of experiencing side effects such as dry mouth, jaw stiffness, mouth sores and bleeding gums.
For more information, call 573-331-3996.