We create a personalized treatment plan for your specific stage and type of oral cancer. Our oral cancer specialists are expertly trained in a range of surgical techniques to remove tumors and perform complex reconstructions if required. This helps preserve the ability to speak and swallow, which can be affected by cancers in the oral cavity. Our goal is to treat your cancer and return you to your daily activities as quickly as possible.
Duke Health oral cancer specialists use a comprehensive and personalized approach to detect oral cavity (mouth) cancers that can grow in areas such as your lips, gums, cheek, the front part of your tongue, the floor of your mouth (underneath the tongue), or cancer that has spread to your upper or lower jaw bone. We use sophisticated surgical techniques to remove the tumor and perform reconstruction surgery, doing everything we can to preserve your ability to function and resume your normal life.
The Best Care for Oral Cancers
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
A small sample of tissue is removed and examined under a microscope to look for the presence of cancer.
CT, MRI, ultrasounds, 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 imaging technology to produce superior results with less radiation exposure.
A lighted tube is inserted in the nose to evaluate the mouth and the back of the nose (nasopharynx), throat (pharynx), and voice box (larynx) as well.
Rehabilitation and Reconstruction
Often, reconstructive surgery takes place at the same time as your original surgery to remove a tumor. We can partner with dentists, prosthodontists, and oral surgeons to recommend dental prostheses, implants, or grafts to rebuild areas in your mouth.
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.
Our radiologists are specially trained and regularly read images for oral cancer. 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.