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MD Anderson's Head and Neck Center brings together an extraordinary level of expertise and experience to treat cancers of the oral cavity (mouth) and precancerous lesions of the oral area.

MD Anderson's Head and Neck Center brings together an extraordinary level of expertise and experience to treat cancers of the oral cavity (mouth) and precancerous lesions of the oral area.

Cancer changed me. I see the beauty in all of this. I see life in a different perspective.

Phil Gonzalez


Each patient is followed closely by a team of experts including oncologists and radiation oncologists and, when necessary, surgeons, dentists and speech pathologists. These specially trained experts customize your care, including the most advanced therapies with the least impact on your body.

Innovative Treatments Offer Hope

At MD Anderson, your care for oral cancer is personalized and may include surgery, or other treatments such as targeted therapies. If surgery is necessary, you can count on our renowned surgeons, who use the latest, least-invasive techniques.

Oral cancer and its treatment can affect talking, swallowing, eating and breathing. MD Anderson patients with oral cancer receive the expertise of highly skilled head and neck surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, plastic surgeons, dental oncologists and speech and swallowing specialists, all working together to provide the best chance for successful treatment for oral cancer with the least impact on your body.

We offer new strategies to maintain dental and oral health treatment. Our highly specialized speech pathologists and therapists are among the most experienced in the nation, particularly in the newest methods of voice restoration and speech.

Because early diagnosis gives you the best chance for successful treatment, the Oral Cancer Prevention Clinic provides a specialized setting for diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of precancerous lesions of the oral cavity. New optical techniques, less-invasive alternatives to biopsy, may help find some oral cancers earlier.

And at MD Anderson, you're surrounded by the strength of one of the nation's largest and most experienced comprehensive cancer centers, which has all the services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.

Treatment at MD Anderson

Oral cancer is treated in our Head and Neck Center.


Understanding a disease is the first step toward finding the right care. Get the facts about oral cancer, including the different types, how it starts and who’s at risk.

Oral cancer facts

Did You Know?

A sore in the mouth that doesn't heal is the most common symptom of oral cancer.


Most cancers have the same symptoms as other, less serious conditions. Still, it’s important to know the signs.

Oral cancer symptoms


Blood tests, imaging exams and even surgical procedures are used to check for cancer. Learn what methods doctors use to diagnose oral cancer, as well as how they determine its stage.

Oral cancer diagnosis


Common cancer treatments include chemotherapy, radiation treatment and surgery. Doctors select a treatment plan based on your diagnosis and disease stage.

Oral cancer treatment

Clinical Trials

MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials offering promising new treatments that cannot be
found anywhere else.

Knowledge Center

Find the latest news and information about oral cancer in our Knowledge Center, including blog posts, articles, videos, news releases and more.


Talk to someone who shares your cancer diagnosis and be matched with a survivor.

Prevention & Screening

Many cancers can be prevented with lifestyle changes and regular screening.


MD Anderson has licensed social workers to help patients and their loved ones cope with cancer.

Each year more than 30,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer. This type of tumor can occur on the tongue, lips, gums, cheek, palate or floor of the mouth. When caught early, oral cancer is highly treatable, so it’s important to know what to look for.

Ann Gillenwater, M.D., director of MD Anderson’s Oral Cancer Prevention Clinic, recently answered a few questions to help patients and families facing oral cancer, as well as those...

When Cora “Corky” Hilliard was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of the tongue for the second time in June 2012, she got to MD Anderson as quickly as she could. She’d had her first tongue cancer occurrence treated near her home in Austin nearly three years earlier. At the time, she’d been told that the disease would never return to its original location.

At MD Anderson, our integrated approach to cancer treatment won her admiration...