Floor of the mouth cancer affects the bottom of your mouth under your tongue. The most common type of floor of the mouth cancer is squamous cell, affecting the cells that line the mouth and throat (oral cavity). Changes in the look and feel of the soft tissue on the floor of your mouth, such as a lump or a sore that doesn't heal, may indicate cancer. Tobacco and heavy alcohol use increase your risk of floor of the mouth cancer.

  • Expertise and experience. Mayo Clinic is a leader in diagnosing and treating rare cancers. Mayo Clinic doctors use their experience to provide the most effective treatment. Mayo Clinic head and neck surgeons have extensive experience not only in complete removal of head and neck cancers but also in reconstruction of this complicated area to achieve the best functional and cosmetic results possible.
  • Advanced technology. Mayo Clinic uses the latest advances in high-resolution imaging studies to diagnose floor of the mouth cancer and the latest surgical procedures and radiation therapy to treat the cancer and maintain the function of your mouth. Mayo Clinic reconstructive surgeons use advanced imaging and modeling technology to achieve excellent results in 3-D reconstruction of the jaws and facial skeleton.
  • Comprehensive cancer center. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, recognizing scientific excellence and a multidisciplinary approach focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked high performing for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic doctors use highly advanced diagnostic services to identify floor of the mouth cancer. The process starts with a physical exam and a discussion of your symptoms and medical history.

Your doctor may take a small sample of tissue (biopsy) to send to the lab for analysis. X-rays help locate abnormalities in the floor of your mouth and jaws. Your doctor may order other imaging tests, such as those below, to determine if the cancer has spread. In tests that involve radiation, Mayo Clinic specialists carefully monitor doses to avoid the risk of radiation overexposure.

  • Computerized tomography (CT). CT scans generate 2-D images of the head and neck that may reveal whether cancer has invaded other tissues or organs.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to identify small abnormalities in the head and neck in 3-D views and to determine if cancer has spread to other organs.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scans. PET scans use a small amount of radioactive materials to identify cancer and to determine if it has spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body such as the lungs, liver or bones.

Mayo Clinic doctors use the latest technology and techniques to treat floor of the mouth cancer. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, reconstructive surgery or a combination of these approaches. A multidisciplinary team trained in ear, nose and throat (ENT), oral and maxillofacial surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and other specialties provides you with optimal treatment for floor of the mouth cancer.

  • Surgery. The type of surgery used to treat floor of the mouth cancer depends on the size, type, location and depth of the tumor spread. If the tumor has spread beyond the floor of the mouth, nearby lymph nodes may need to be removed and examined in a laboratory.
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays, electron beams or radioactive isotopes to kill cancer cells. At Mayo Clinic, you have access to the most advanced therapy, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Radiation oncologists tailor each treatment to protect nearby normal tissue.
  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. For floor of the mouth cancer, experienced medical oncologists may administer chemotherapy orally or into your veins.
  • Reconstructive surgery. Depending on the size, location and spread of the cancer, some people may need reconstructive surgery to restore physical appearance and mouth function.
  • Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation specialists in speech therapy, swallowing therapy, dietetics, physical therapy and occupational therapy help with rehabilitation that may be necessary after surgery or radiation therapy. The Nicotine Dependence Center at Mayo Clinic can help if you're trying to stop using tobacco.

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Mayo Clinic emphasizes a team approach to care. Many health care professionals work together to determine the most appropriate treatment, tailored to your needs. Doctors trained in ENT, plastic and reconstructive surgery, hematology and oncology, and radiation oncology work with other specialists, as needed.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Mayo Clinic emphasizes a team approach to care. Many health care professionals work together to determine the most appropriate treatment, tailored to your needs. Doctors trained in ENT, plastic surgery, hematology and oncology, and radiation oncology work with other specialists, as needed.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Mayo Clinic emphasizes a team approach to care. Many health care professionals work together to determine the most appropriate treatment, tailored to your needs. Doctors trained in ENT, oral and maxillofacial surgery, plastic surgery, medical oncology, and radiation oncology work with other specialists, as needed.

If you're trying to stop using tobacco, you can get help through the Nicotine Dependence Center.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic conducts important research related to tumors of the head and neck through the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. The research program uses a team approach that involves scientists from various disciplines. The program's goals include enhancing quality of life and improving the possibility of a cure.

Read about Mayo Clinic's head and neck surgery research program.

Publications

See a list of publications from Mayo Clinic doctors on mouth cancer on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Aug. 19, 2013