Oral Cancers

Mouth Cancer and Tongue Cancer

Make an Appointment
You have been seen by a Duke provider for cancer care within the last three years or you need to reschedule an appointment.

or call


Duke doctors use a comprehensive and personalized approach to detect oral cancers that can grow in areas such as your lips, mouth, tongue, tonsils, palate, and throat. We use sophisticated surgical techniques to remove the tumor and do everything we can to preserve your ability to function and resume your normal life.

Find an Oral Cancers Doctor
Matching Results
Filter Results
Filter by:
Use My Current Location
Located Near You
Loading Results
Showing of Doctors
Load More View All

The Best Care for Oral Cancers

We create a personalized treatment plan for your specific stage and type of oral cancer. Our doctors are expertly trained in a range of surgical techniques to remove tumors while preserving your ability to speak and function normally. Our goal is to treat your cancer and return you to your daily activities as quickly as possible.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.


Treatments Overview

When detected early, these types of cancer are highly curable -- often with either surgery or radiation therapy alone. More advanced cancers are generally treated with a combination of treatments.



Surgery removes the tumor, affected parts of the oral cavity, lymph nodes, and surrounding tissues, depending on the the tumor's type and size and whether the cancer has spread. Our surgeons use a wide range of surgical approaches, including laser surgery, which can reduce bleeding. We also use robotic tools to increase precision and visualization and to remove hard-to-reach tumors. You may be able to participate in an experimental procedure, now being tested in clinical trials, that is evaluating the benefits of removing oral cancers using robotic tools through the mouth, rather than surgically through the neck.

Radiation Therapy


We use MRI and CT imaging technology to pinpoint the tumor's location and target it with beams of high-energy X-rays that destroy cancer cells. This image-guided approach, used before and after surgery, minimizes damage to surrounding healthy tissue.



Immunotherapy takes advantage of a person's own immune system to help kill cancer cells. There are several FDA-approved options that can be delivered via oral medications or IV infusion.

Targeted Therapy


Targeted therapy can help stop or slow the growth or spread of cancer by targeting specific aspects of your tumor's biology. Targeted therapies may be delivered in pill form or through onsite IV infusion and are often used in combination with another treatment like chemotherapy or radiation.



Chemotherapy medications kill cancer cells or stop them from growing, before and/or after surgery. Medical oncologists consider your specific type of tumor and assess the risks and benefits before recommending chemotherapy as part of your personalized treatment plan. We routinely combine the newest chemotherapy drugs with standard drug regimens to achieve a better response, fewer side effects, and improved quality of life.

Rehabilitation and Reconstruction

Because oral cancer can cause problems with speaking, breathing, and swallowing, we partner with speech, physical, and occupational therapists to improve those functions.

Our expert plastic and reconstructive surgeonsoral and maxillofacial surgeons, orthodontists, and dentists collaborate to repair damage caused by oral cancer or its treatment. Often, reconstructive surgery can take place at the same time as your original surgery to removing a tumor. We can also recommend dental prostheses, implants, or grafts to rebuild areas in your mouth. 




A small sample of tissue is removed and examined under a microscope to look for the presence of cancer.

Advanced Imaging


CT, MRI, and PET scans may be used to locate and identify the type of cancer and to determine whether it has spread. We use the latest MRI technology to ensure superior imaging, and CT scans to produce superior results with less exposure to radiation.



A lighted tube is inserted in the mouth to identify cancer and determine its stage, a tumor's size, and what structures are involved.

Best Cancer Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

Why Choose Duke

Nationally-Ranked Cancer Program
As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, we are recognized for exploring new treatment opportunities through ongoing clinical trials. You may be eligible to receive experimental treatments before they are available elsewhere.

A Comprehensive Team
Our team of specialists includes otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors and experts in head and neck surgery), surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, and dentists and oral medicine specialists (who are trained to manage issues related to cancer and cancer treatments that can contribute to tooth decay, bone deterioration, jaw stiffness, pain, and other problems). We work together to ensure you receive the best possible care. Specially trained nurses and therapists help you maintain or regain your ability to talk, eat, swallow, and perform other daily functions. Social workers, psychologists, and palliative care experts help you cope with the emotional and psychological effects associated with cancer. Physical therapists and cancer nutritionists help you maintain your strength and stamina through exercise and good eating habits.

Experienced Radiologists
Our radiologists are specially trained to read images for tracheal cancer and have experience based on doing just that on a regular basis. We use MRI as well as CT scans, which produce superior quality images with lower doses of radiation exposure.

Support for You
Our comprehensive support services help you minimize the side effects of treatment and cope with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and care. View our cancer support groups in our event calendar.

This page was medically reviewed on 12/15/2021 by