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The oropharynx is the part of the throat that is directly behind the mouth. Oro means mouth and pharynx is the throat. Speaking and swallowing are its main functions. The oropharynx includes the:

  • soft part of the roof of the mouth (soft palate)
  • base of the tongue (part you cannot see)
  • side walls of the throat (where the tonsils are)
  • back wall of the throat (posterior pharyngeal wall).

There are different types of oropharyngeal cancer, but the most common is squamous cell carcinoma. Other rare types include salivary gland cancer, lymphoma, small cell cancer and sarcoma. This information is about squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx.