Oral Cavity and Oropharynx

The oral cavity consists of the lining of the lips and cheeks, the gums, the two front-thirds of the tongue, teeth, and bony roof (hard plate) and floor of the mouth. It is the entrance of the alimentary tract. It can also assist with sound modification for speaking.

The oropharynx consists of back third of the tongue, side and back wall of throat, the tonsils, and the back part of the roof of the mouth (soft plate). The oropharynx is where the oral cavity stops.

The oral cavity and oropharynx help with breathing, eating, swallowing, and chewing. Due to salvia, they also help with digesting food.

Tumors can form from mild to severe. Cancer can also form in the cells of both. However, there are treatments available for both.

Common cancers found

  • Squamous cell cancer: Makes up 90% of oral cancer found in the lining of the mouth and throat.
  • Verrucous cancer: makes up less than 5 percent of oral cancer
  • Salivary Gland cancer: found in the lining of the mouth and throat
  • Lymphomas: found in the tonsils and bas of the tongue
  • Leukoplakia: pre-cancerous, seen as a white or gray patch
  • Erythroplakia: pre-cancerous, seen as a red and white patch that is slightly raised or flat.

Tobacco and alcohol are factors that increase the chance of oral cavity and oropharynx cancer.