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Floor of the Mouth Cancer : Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Survival Rate

What is Floor of the Mouth Cancer?

Between the lower jawbones just below the tongue, the part of the mouth is in the shape of the horseshoe. This part of the mouth is known as the Floor of the Mouth. The part is largely constructed with muscles and bones. Floor of the Mouth is largely prone to cancer. In America alone around 30,000 people are victims of floor of the mouth cancer and a few thousands of them die from this.

The cavity of the mouth which is known as the Floor of the mouth is largely used for pronunciation purposes, for speaking out various words of the vocabulary. The tongue touches this part while speaking, while tasting and while forming a bolus during the eating. Often this cavity in the mouth gets injured or can develop a lump. These lumps should not be ignored as the lump can be malignant and thus cause the floor of the mouth cancer. A 9% of the population is a victim of the floor of the mouth cancer.

If there is any damage in any part of the mouth, you will soon develop problem in eating or speaking and if the damage is discovered in the first stage, it can be taken care of. With constant treatment and exercise you can get cured. But nonetheless, the lesion or the lump should not be ignored. What usually happens is that the lesions are not painful in the first stage and is often in hidden areas of the mouth and thus is only diagnosed at a very advanced stage when the lesion starts the pain and cause serious impairment of the mouth. At this stage, the cure is often not possible. Floor of the mouth cancer is more common in males and mostly this illness happens in the 50s’, but can also occur to younger people.

Floor of the Mouth Cancer

Causes of Floor of the Mouth Cancer

There are several causes which might lead to floor of the mouth cancer. The most important and premium cause of floor of the mouth cancer is addiction to several substances like tobacco and alcohol. Smoking cigarettes regularly or being an addict to alcohol abuse may lead to the development of malignant tumor in the cavities of the mouth. More than smoking tobacco or alcohol, consumption of smokeless tobacco in the powered or paste form or consuming beetle nuts may evidently lead to the growth of such malignant tumors in the mouth.

Symptoms of Floor of the Mouth Cancer

The usual symptoms of the floor of the mouth cancer may appear like an ulcer or a sore, but should not be ignored. The common symptoms which might indicate that you are developing a malignant tumor in the cavity of your mouth are:

  • Growth of the lump or lesion in your mouth.
  • Growth of the lump in your neck.
  • Growth of ulcers and lumps in your mouth which are painless.
  • Growing sore in your mouth that continues to increase in size.
  • Difficulty in chewing and moving your jaw.
  • Pain in your jaw and swelling in your jaw.
  • Difficulty in speaking.
  • Blotches of white, red, black and blue inside your mouth.
  • Deafening ear pain without any infection in your ear or with a normal ear drum.
  • Numbness in the mouth.

Tests to Diagnose Floor of the Mouth Cancer

After checking your medical history, the doctor shall use a tongue depressor to move your tongue up and check the cavity. Once the lesion is found, it is tested immediately. The various tests done for floor of the mouth cancer are:

  • Blood tests.
  • MRI.
  • CT Scan.
  • X-Ray.
  • FNAC or needle biopsy to confirm the malignancy.
  • PET Scan.

After these tests are done, the ear, the rest of the mouth, the neck and throat are checked to find out if the cancer has spread already.

Treatment for Floor of the Mouth Cancer

The only way to treat the floor of the mouth cancer is by surgery. Once the general physician suspects the lump to be malignant, he or she immediately shall refer you to an oncologist. From there, the oncologist shall check the reports of the tests and decide when to operate. After the operation is done, the patient undergoes the chemotherapy or the ray therapy to resist the cancer cells within one place and kill them totally. Usually chemotherapy is preferred if the lump cannot be operated or to check the growth of the malignant tumor.

Surgery for Floor of the Mouth Cancer

If the floor of the mouth cancer is diagnosed at the early stage then only surgery is enough, else it has to be combined with chemotherapy.

Depending on the size of the tumor, the surgeon will decide how much to remove. If the tumor is attached to the mouth, but has not reached to the bones, then the surgeon remove the tumor and also the muscles around it up to the bones. If the tumor has touched the bone, then a part of the jaw bone has to be scraped out.

If the cancer has spread to the neck, then the lymph nodes of the neck shall be removed after the neck is dissected.

Home Remedies for Floor of the Mouth Cancer

Below mentioned are some of the home remedies for floor of the mouth cancer:

  • Keep lemon in your diet as Vitamin C helps to fight floor of the mouth cancer.
  • Have tomatoes, avocados, coconut milk, coriander seeds, carrot, bitter gourd, drumstick leaves in your food habit. Also chew on basil leaves daily and then drink fresh water.
  • Maintain a proper oral hygiene.
  • Bring a change in your diet. Consume food which is easy to swallow. Prefer a liquid diet.
  • Do regular mouth exercises.

Survival Rate for Floor of the Mouth Cancer

If the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the patient can be saved. According to the statistical data, out of 27000 people who are affected by this kind of cancer, 88% of the people gets recovered.

Recovery Period/Healing Time for Floor of the Mouth Cancer

The time that you might need to recover or healing time can be told by the doctor who is treating you. He or she will also be able to tell you if the floor of the mouth cancer can develop in you again.

Prevention of Floor of the Mouth Cancer

  • Avoid all kind of substance abuse.
  • If you are HIV positive, take good care of your health to prevent floor of the mouth cancer.

Risk Factors for Floor of the Mouth Cancer

The following are the risk factors for floor of the mouth cancer:

  • Constant alcohol abuse or smoking may accuse this cancer. Also consumption of any kind of tobacco or addictive powders that are to be chewed will make you prone to this disease.
  • People who are a victim of HIV (they are HIV positive) may develop the malignant tumor causing the floor of the mouth cancer.
  • If the person is exposed to the HPV virus also known as the human papilloma virus. Especially, the strains 16 and 18 of such kind of virus can cause floor of the mouth cancer.

Complications of Floor of the Mouth Cancer

The floor of the mouth cancer is often considered by the patients as a painless ulcer or a sore, which has happened due to some hemorrhage or injury in the mouth. Therefore, when people actually realize that it has become painful and visits the doctors for the check up the cancer has grown to its advanced stage. Also after being operated, it shall leave a permanent mark on your face. Your lifestyle shall change forever as you have to undergo all the treatment procedures for cancer. Therefore, your personal and social life shall get disrupted for quite some time.

Prognosis/Outlook for Floor of the Mouth Cancer

The prognosis or outlook for the early diagnosed floor of the mouth cancer is good. If you have a medical history of cancer, HIV or had been a victim of HPV virus, you are more prone to this illness, also if you are a regular substance abuser. If diagnosed at the early stage, you can be saved.

Coping with Floor of the Mouth Cancer

You are a victim of floor of the mouth cancer, your life becomes difficult and so will the loves of your dear ones. The best way to cope with floor of the mouth cancer is to not lose hope, so that you will be mentally prepared for the treatment procedures and will be able to take them. The family of the patient shall also be string during this time.


  1. American Cancer Society. (2021). Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer.html
  2. National Cancer Institute. (2021). Head and Neck Cancers. https://www.cancer.gov/types/head-and-neck
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Oral cancer. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mouth-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20350997

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 5, 2023

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