Anatomy The anatomy of the oral cavity is particularly challenging because there are many different types of tissue located in this relatively small area. The oral cavity begins at the lips and extends backwards to the front part of the tonsils. Beginning at the front of the upper and lower lips is the very specialized tissue called the vermilion border, which lines the lips. Once inside the mouth, this entire region is coated with a lining that is specialized to provide lubrication of the oral cavity. The bone of the lower jaw called the mandible and of the upper jaw, called the hard palate, are also included in this region as well as the teeth. The lining of the mouth becomes thick overlying this bone. Directly behind the lower teeth is a smooth gutter, known as the floor of mouth.
The oral cavity (mouth) and oropharynx (throat)
Oral cancer refers to cancer occurring between the vermilion border of the lips and the junction of the hard and soft palates or the posterior one third of the tongue. Early, curable lesions are rarely symptomatic; thus, preventing fatal disease requires early detection by screening. Treatment is with surgery, radiation, or both, although surgery plays a larger role in the treatment of most oral cavity cancer. See also Overview of Head and Neck Tumors. Oral squamous cell carcinoma affects about 34, people in the US each year. As with most head and neck sites, squamous cell carcinoma is the most common oral cancer. The combination of heavy smoking and alcohol abuse is estimated to raise the risk fold in women and fold in men. Squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue may also result from any chronic irritation, such as dental caries, overuse of mouthwash, chewing tobacco, or the use of betel quid. Oral human papillomavirus HPV , typically acquired via oral-genital contact, may have a role in the etiology of some oral cancers; however, HPV is identified in oral cancer much less often than it is in oropharyngeal cancer.
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NCI Definition: A squamous cell carcinoma arising from the oral cavity. It affects predominantly adults in their fifth and sixth decades of life and is associated with alcohol and tobacco use. Human papillomavirus is present in approximately half of the cases. It is characterized by a tendency to metastasize early to the lymph nodes. When the tumor is small, patients are often asymptomatic.
Oral cancer , also known as mouth cancer , is cancer of the lining of the lips, mouth, or upper throat. When on the lips, it commonly looks like a persistent crusting ulcer that does not heal, and slowly grows. Risk factors include tobacco and alcohol use. Oral cancer can be prevented by avoiding tobacco products, limiting alcohol use, sun protection on the lower lip, HPV vaccination, and avoidance of paan.