Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Diagnosis and Treatment of Cheek Cancer

The inside surface of the cheeks and lips is called the buccal mucosa. In early stages, cancer in these tissues can look like a harmless sore and can occur without symptoms. Nevertheless, early detection and treatment of buccal mucosa cancer greatly improves survival rates. Therefore, in addition to checking your own mouth for suspicious changes, your dentist should inspect your mouth for signs of oral cancer during your regular dental exams, particularly if you regularly use tobacco and/or alcohol.

Stanford Expertise

Like all head and neck cancers, buccal mucosa cancer is rare. Therefore, it is important to be seen by a team of physicians who have expertise in treating this specific disease. Buccal mucosa cancers can be treated with surgery and/or radiation and in rare instances experimental chemotherapy, depending on the stage and type of cancer.

The head and neck cancer specialists at the Stanford Cancer Center such as Dr. Don Goffinet have experience treating buccal mucosa cancer, and will provide you with the multidisciplinary, quality, compassionate care that you deserve. Your doctors and nurses will take care to minimize and manage treatment side effects like mucositis, and if the cancer is advanced, reconstructive surgeons and speech therapists are integrated into treatment to ensure maximum success in preserving your swallowing and speaking ability.

Improving Your Chances of Success

Tobacco and alcohol consumption are the primary causes of buccal mucosa cancers. Encouragingly, studies have shown that you will respond better to treatment if you can stop smoking or chewing tobacco during and after receiving therapy. The Stanford Cancer Center offers free smoking cessation services to help you meet this important goal.

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