Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is cancer found in the oral cavity (the mouth area) and the oropharynx (the throat area at the back of the mouth).

The oral cavity includes:

  • The lips, teeth and gums.
  • The lining inside the lips and cheeks (buccal mucosa).
  • The floor of the mouth (under the tongue).
  • The top of the mouth (hard palate).
  • The small area behind the wisdom teeth.

The oropharynx includes:

  • The back one-third of the tongue.
  • The soft palate.
  • The tonsils.
  • The back of the throat.