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Treatment of stage I and II (early) head and neck cancer: The oral cavity

Neil D Gross, MD, FACS
Nancy Y Lee, MD
Scott Okuno, MD
Shyam SD Rao, MD, PhD
Section Editors
Bruce E Brockstein, MD
David M Brizel, MD
Marshall R Posner, MD
Marvin P Fried, MD, FACS
Deputy Editor
Michael E Ross, MD


Squamous cell carcinoma is the predominant malignancy that occurs in the oral cavity. Minor salivary gland cancers and sarcomas are less common.

The initial approach to squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity and the treatment of stage I and II (early) disease are discussed here. The management of locally advanced oral cavity cancer and the treatment of metastatic and recurrent cancers are discussed separately.

(See "Treatment of locoregionally advanced (stage III and IV) head and neck cancer: The oral cavity".)

(See "Treatment of metastatic and recurrent head and neck cancer".)


The oral cavity extends from the skin-vermilion junction of the lips to the junction of the hard and soft palate above, and to the line of circumvallate papilla of the tongue below. The anterior tonsillar pillars and glossotonsillar folds serve as the lateral boundaries between the oral cavity and oropharynx.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 22, 2016.
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