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Mouth and Throat Tumors 

Finding out you have a tumor is scary. You may wonder what effect it will have on your life. As you and your healthcare providers decide on your treatment, make sure to address your concerns . And moving forward, your healthcare team can help you learn ways to help yourself.

What is a tumor?

A tumor is a mass of abnormal cells. It is either slow growing and not cancer (benign) or fast growing and cancer (malignant). Some tumors, especially cancerous ones, can be life-threatening. But most tumors can be treated.

Who is at risk for a cancerous tumor?

You are more likely to get a tumor of the mouth or throat if you:

  • Smoke cigarettes, pipes, or cigars

  • Use chewing tobacco or snuff

  • Drink alcohol

  • Take poor care of your teeth

  • Are exposed to certain industrial chemicals

  • Had a mouth or throat tumor in the past

  • Have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection

Symptoms of a tumor in the mouth

If you have a mouth tumor, you or your healthcare provider may have noticed one or more of the following:

  • White or red patches on tissues or gums

  • Pain that doesn’t go away

  • A sore that doesn’t heal in a week or two

  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop after a few days

  • A swelling or lump that doesn’t go away

  • Problems with your teeth, dentures, or chewing

Symptoms of a tumor in the throat

If you have a throat tumor, you or your healthcare provider may have noticed one or more of the following:

  • Hoarseness that doesn’t go away

  • Trouble swallowing

  • A lump in your neck

  • Pain that doesn’t go away

  • Aching, pain, or pressure in your ear

  • Persistent coughing with or without bloody sputum

Online Medical Reviewer: Ashutosh Kacker MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2020
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