Floor of the mouth cancer care at Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic experts offer compassionate, whole-person care to those with floor of the mouth cancer.

Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic doctors use highly advanced diagnostic services to identify floor of the mouth cancer. Tests and procedures may include:

  • Thorough physical examination. The process starts with a physical exam and a discussion of your symptoms and medical history.
  • Removing a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy). Your doctor may remove a sample of suspicious cells from the floor of your mouth using a scalpel. The sample is sent to a laboratory where experts analyze the cells to determine whether they're cancerous.
  • Imaging tests. Imaging tests help your doctor determine the extent of your cancer and whether it may have spread. Tests may include a CT, MRI and positron emission tomography (PET). Which tests you undergo depend on your particular situation.

Treatment at Mayo Clinic

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.

  • 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 to determine how far the cancer has spread.

    Mayo Clinic head and neck surgeons are skilled at utilizing minimally invasive surgery techniques, including transoral robotic surgery.

  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams of radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation may be used alone to treat small floor of the mouth cancers or it may be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that might remain.

    Radiation oncologists at Mayo Clinic use advanced treatment technologies, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and proton therapy, to target cancer cells and spare nearby healthy tissue.

  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. For people with floor of the mouth cancer, chemotherapy is often used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that might remain. Sometimes it's combined with radiation therapy.

    At Mayo Clinic, experienced medical oncologists select the chemotherapy drugs that are most likely to be effective against your cancer cells. Medical oncologists work closely with you during treatment to manage your side effects.

  • Reconstructive surgery. Depending on the size, location and spread of the cancer, some people may need reconstructive surgery to restore mouth function. Doctors at Mayo Clinic are skilled in using the latest techniques in reconstructive surgery to restore your ability to speak and eat after mouth cancer surgery.
  • 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.
  • Palliative care. Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. At Mayo Clinic, palliative care specialists work with you, your family and your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support that complements your ongoing care.