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Mouth Cancer Treatment

Memorial Sloan Kettering head and neck surgeon Bhuvanesh Singh removes cancer from the mouth

There are several ways to treat mouth cancer, depending on the location and stage, including:

  • surgery to remove the cancer
  • radiation therapy, using high-energy rays (such as x-rays) to destroy cancer cells
  • chemotherapy with drugs that kill cancer cells

If you have mouth cancer, your doctors will discuss your treatment options with you. To make an informed choice, ask about the pros and cons of each option. You’ll want to know about potential changes in your appearance, speech, or ability to swallow. Also find out what resources are available to you after treatment, such as rehabilitation and other support services.

Doctor in green surgical scrubs wearing glasses and cap looking at camera.
Q & A: MSK Leads the Way in Treating Head and Neck Cancers
Learn how MSK specialists treat head and neck cancers using the most innovative approaches.
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Our goal at Memorial Sloan Kettering is to give compassionate, personalized care to every person who comes to us for mouth cancer treatment. Your team of head and neck cancer specialists will design a treatment plan especially for you. Their areas of expertise include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, radiology, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and quality-of-life issues. Having all of them work together helps us ensure that we choose the best combination for you.

In addition to the care we offer at our Manhattan locations, we have regional outpatient locations in New Jersey, as well as Westchester County and Long Island. For our out-of-town patients, we’ve negotiated special discounts at nearby hotels.

Why Choose Memorial Sloan Kettering for Mouth Cancer Care

We’re constantly improving the treatment options available to people with mouth cancer. In fact, our experts were involved with many of the modern approaches used to treat cancer in the oral cavity. These include surgical and reconstructive surgery techniques, along with innovative methods of fighting cancer with radiation and radiation combined with chemotherapy.

Choose MSK because:

  • We provide unparalleled skill and experience in mouth cancer surgery. Our techniques include innovative approaches to preserve your appearance and the function of your mouth.
  • We deliver more effective radiation therapy directly to tumors using the most precise methods available. These treatments are tailored specifically for mouth cancers.
  • Our patients with more advanced disease also have access to clinical trials of new treatment options that are not available at most other hospitals.
  • Our pathology and imaging experts have vast experience in making a precise diagnosis of the type and extent of mouth cancer that you may have.
  • Individualized treatment plans designed by our rehabilitation experts help you manage problems with speech, swallowing, and other side effects of mouth cancer and its treatment.
  • Our dental team makes sure that you’re in good oral health before treatment begins. They are there to support you during and after your treatment.
  • You will receive expert follow-up care from your medical team after you have completed treatment to help guide your recovery.
  • Our patients receive long-term follow-up care from a nurse practitioner who specializes in the medical needs of people who been treated for head and neck cancer that can surface years later.


Many people with mouth cancer experience problems with their speech, swallowing, or voice as a result of the cancer and its treatment.

MSK’s speech and swallowing therapists are experts in helping people with mouth cancer recover from the cancer and its treatments. They are there for you before, during, and after your treatment to help address any problems.

Our physical and occupational therapists are available to help you improve your mobility after surgery or other medical treatments.

Prosthodontics and Dental Care

Mouth cancer and its treatment can affect your teeth and other structures of your mouth. Our dental oncologists and maxillofacial prosthodontists work closely with the other members of your care team to perform dental procedures and create prosthetics you may need during and after your care.

Before treatment begins, the team meets with you to ensure you are in good dental health and to address any problems that need attention right away. After treatment, they take x-rays to look for any new problems.

The dental team also creates customized intraoral prosthetics for people who need them. These include dental implants, obturators for the roof of the mouth, and other custom devices used to help repair the jawbone or tongue.