Oral cancer

00:00 / 00:00



Oral cancer

Eyes, ears, nose, and throat


Oral cancer


0 / 7 complete

High Yield Notes

18 pages


Oral cancer

of complete

External Links


Oral cancer describes cancers that originate in the oral cavity.

The oral cavity includes the lips, the gingiva, or gums, the floor of the mouth, the buccal mucosa which is the soft lining of the inner lips and cheeks, the anterior or front two-thirds of the tongue, the hard palate which is the tough front part of the roof of the mouth, and the retromolar trigone which is the mucosa right behind the last molars on the bottom row of teeth.

Behind the oral cavity is the oropharynx.

The oropharynx includes the soft palate which is the soft part of the roof of the mouth right behind the hard palate, the tonsils, the walls of the throat, and the posterior or back one-third of the tongue.

The oral cavity and oropharynx are lined by epithelium - and there are a few different types.

The first type of epithelium is called keratinized stratified squamous epithelium.

These epithelial cells produce keratin, a protein that makes the layer tough, and protects against normal wear and tear from food and drinks.

Beneath the epithelium, there’s another layer called the basement membrane made of tough connective tissue, and below that is the lamina propria which yet more connective tissue that houses blood vessels, lymphatics, nerves, and immune cells.

The oral surfaces covered in keratinized epithelium include the hard palate, the dorsal surface, or top, of the tongue, and the gingiva.

A second type of epithelium is non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium, and it contains cells that don’t produce much keratin, making this layer less tough.


Oral cancer refers to cancers that develop in the oral cavity. Such cancers can affect the lips, tongue, cheek lining, floor of the mouth, and hard and soft palate. Common risk factors for oral cancer include alcohol abuse, tobacco smoking, using betel quid, immunodeficiency, and nutritional deficiencies. Diagnosis includes a biopsy, while treatment might include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.


  1. "Robbins Basic Pathology" Elsevier (2017)
  2. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Twentieth Edition (Vol.1 & Vol.2)" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  3. "Pathophysiology of Disease: An Introduction to Clinical Medicine 8E" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  4. "CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2020" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2019)
  5. "Oral leukoplakia, the ongoing discussion on definition and terminology" Medicina Oral Patología Oral y Cirugia Bucal (2015)
  6. "Survival of Patients with Oral Cavity Cancer in Germany" PLoS ONE (2013)
  7. "Human Papillomavirus Types in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas Worldwide: A Systematic Review" Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (2005)

Copyright © 2023 Elsevier, its licensors, and contributors. All rights are reserved, including those for text and data mining, AI training, and similar technologies.

Cookies are used by this site.

USMLE® is a joint program of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). COMLEX-USA® is a registered trademark of The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Inc. NCLEX-RN® is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor affiliated with Osmosis or this website.