How long will I survive with mouth cancer?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

The success rate for treating mouth cancer is very high if it has not spread to the lymph nodes. About 68 percent of people will survive for 5 or more years after diagnosis. Many of these people can live a relatively long and normal life. Only 25 percent of people survive for 5 or more years after the lymph nodes become cancerous. In general, 25 percent of all mouth cancer cases are fatal. After treatment, there is also a risk of recurrence.

Mouth cancer (oral cancer) is not an immediate death sentence, but it can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early. If oral cancer is diagnosed in the early stages, the survival rate is about 81%. However, many are found in the late stages resulting in a death rate of about 45% at 5 years of diagnosis. These late stage diagnoses often occur because of the lack of public awareness and screening opportunities. Mouth cancer begins as sore or growth on your tongue, lips, or floor of your mouth, and it can spread to surrounding areas. Talk to your doctor or dentist about screenings for and  symptoms of mouth or oral cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.