Types of Oral Cancer: Common, Rare and Their Varieties

Oral cance
Oral cance

Cancer of the mouth is usually oral cancer, but it can also be called pharyngeal cancer. Oral cancer is a malignant disease that develops from cells in the structure known as epithelium, which covers and protects all or parts of the inside of your body. Cancer of the mouth is more likely to occur when a person has had radiation treatments for cancer elsewhere in their body and there are more than 20 different kinds of cancerous tumors called carcinomas in people over the age of 40.

Oral cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. While it accounts for only 3 percent of all cancers diagnosed each year in the country, it also makes up an estimated 53,000 diagnoses annually. Causes include poor dental hygiene, tobacco use, alcohol consumption and a history of drinking fluoridated water.

Common Types of Oral Cancer

Mouth cancer can develop in several different ways. Your mouth and lips are covered with mucous membranes, which are made up of tiny glands called salivary glands.

They produce substances that keep your mouth moist and help to break down food. Mouth cancer starts in these glands, which include the tonsils and adenoids. Other organs that may be involved include the gums, tongue and back of the throat.

There are also a number of rare types of mouth cancer that affect only specific places within the mouth

  • Verrucous carcinoma
  • squamous cell carcinomas
  • Minor salivary gland carcinomas
  • Lymphoma
  • Mucosal melanoma

Types of oral cancer by region

Mouth cancer refers to cancer that has affected the oral cavity. Cancer of the mouth is typically comprised of three main parts: tongue, gums, and tonsils. Most mouth and neck cancers originate from the mouth, but there are exceptions where it originates from other parts such as throat or sinuses.

Mouth cancer can occur on one side of the mouth or both at the same time.

  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Tongue
  • Inner lining of the cheeks
  • Roof of the mouth
  • Floor of the mouth (under the tongue)


Sometimes, a small area of tongue cancer arises in the front two-thirds of the tongue (base of tongue cancer is known as an oropharyngeal or throat cancer). Symptoms may include bleeding, red or white patches on the tongue and difficulty swallowing. Treatment for this type of tongue cancer involves surgery to remove all or part of the tumor.

There are several tongue cancer treatment options available for tongue cancer, including surgery. Penn Head and Neck surgeons can reconstruct the tongue using tissue taken from the forearm or thigh, allowing optimal tongue function and allowing you to speak and swallow again.


Lip cancer is the second most common form of mouth cancer. It is defined as a tumor that grows on the lining of your lips and begins to invade deeper tissues. Lip cancers usually develop in the lower lip from HPV, oral and xerostomia (dry mouth). The prognosis for lip cancer is favorable if it is detected early, but not so much for smokers.

Which is the best hospital for oral cancer?

RGCIRC is the best cancer hospitals for the treatment of mouth cancer. Our state-of-the-art facilities and team of doctors, nurses and staff are dedicated to providing exceptional care for your condition. We offer the most advanced radiation therapies available, as well as minimally invasive options for head and neck cancers.