Oral Tumour (Oral Cancer)

Oral tumour is the irregular growth or mutation of hard or soft oral tissues in the mouth. It mostly occurs in elderly person. Oral tumour can be classified as benign or malignant tumours. Malignant tumour is commonly known as oral cancer, which can spread to other parts of the body and can be fatal. Therefore, if there is any uncommon manifestation appearing in the oral tissue, consult your doctor or dentist immediately for a detailed examination and seek appropriate treatment.

Photograph showing an oral tumor at the back of upper jaw.


Up to date, we are still unsure of the causes of oral tumour but it is closely related to the following factors:

  • Chemical factors

    Chemicals such as nicotine and tar, etc., inside cigarettes, alcohol, or betel nut juice will slowly destroy oral tissue. Therefore, smoking, tobacco chewing, excessive intake of alcohol or chewing betel nut for a long period of time may lead to oral tumour.

    Photograph of cigarette and alcoholic drinks.
  • Physical factors

    Frequent taking of overly-hot food or drinks for an extended period of time, wearing unfit dentures that damage oral tissues for a long period of time, long term exposure to strong sunlight, or radiation can cause mutation of oral tissues.

  • Infected by virus or bacteria

    Virus such as Human Papilloma virus is closely related to oral tumour.

  • Health problems

    Problems in endocrine system, immune system or metabolism are possible factors leading to oral tumours.


  • An ulcer that doesn't heal after a long period of time, with a necrotic surface that is gangrenous which starts to spread to surrounding areas forming a depressed centre, or a lump with an uneven surface.
  • Pain or bleeding in the mouth without a cause.
  • Sudden numbness on parts of the face.
  • Swelling of jaw bones, loosening of teeth without a cause.
  • Swelling of lymph nodes in the head and neck area without a cause.


  • Identify the type and stage of tumour according to its size, location, and determine from whether it has spread through the lymphatic system or blood vessels.
  • When necessary, treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery could be done according to the type and stage of the tumour.


  • Avoid cancer causing factors:
    • Do not smoke.
    • Do not take overly-hot food or drinks.
    • Avoid exposure to strong sunlight.
    • Do not drink alcohol excessively for an extended period of time.
    • Have the poor fitting denture adjusted or get a new denture made by your dentist.
  • Increase your body resistance by:
    • Maintain good physical and mental health.
    • Have sufficient rest.
    • Have a balanced diet.
    • Exercise regularly.
    Photograph of a man playing basket ball.