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Cancer of the oral cavity and cancer of the oropharynx are two of the most common types of cancer that develop in the head and neck region, a grouping called head and neck cancer. The oral cavity includes the lips; lining of the lips and cheeks, called the buccal mucosa; gingiva, which is the upper and lower gums; front two-thirds of the tongue; floor of the mouth under the tongue; hard palate or the roof of the mouth; and the retromolar trigone, the small area behind the wisdom teeth. The oropharynx begins where the oral cavity stops. It includes the soft palate at the back of the mouth, the part of the throat behind the mouth, the tonsils, and the base of the tongue. The oral cavity and oropharynx, along with other parts of the head and neck, contribute to our ability to chew, swallow, breathe, and talk.
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