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Finding out you have a tumor is scary. You may wonder what effect it will have on your life. As you and your doctors decide on your treatment, some of your concerns will be resolved. And, moving forward, your health care team can help you learn ways to help yourself.
A tumor is a mass of abnormal cells. It is either benign (slow growing, not cancerous) or malignant (fast growing, cancerous). Some tumors, especially cancerous ones, can be life-threatening. But most tumors can be treated.
You are more likely to get a tumor of the mouth or throat if you:
Smoke cigarettes, pipes, or cigars
Use chewing tobacco or snuff
Take poor care of your teeth
Have poor-fitting dentures that irritate your mouth
Are exposed to certain industrial chemicals
Had a mouth or throat tumor in the past
Have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
If you have a mouth tumor, you or your doctor may have noticed one or more of the following:
White or red patches on tissues or gums
Pain that doesn’t go away
A sore that doesn’t heal in a week or two
Bleeding that doesn’t stop after a few days
A swelling or lump that doesn’t go away
Problems with your teeth, dentures, or chewing
If you have a throat tumor, you or your doctor may have noticed one or more of the following:
Hoarseness that doesn’t go away
A lump in your neck
Aching, pain, or pressure in your ear
Persistent coughing with or without bloody sputum
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