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's 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's at risk for a cancerous tumor?

You're 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

  • Were assigned male at birth (twice as common than for those assigned female at birth)

  • Have poor nutrition and have extra body weight

Symptoms of a tumor in the mouth

If you have a mouth tumor, you or your healthcare provider may have noticed 1 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 1 or 2 weeks

  • 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 1 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

  • A lasting cough, with or without bloody sputum

Online Medical Reviewer: Ashutosh Kacker MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 10/1/2021
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