Oral cancer is a serious condition that can be life threatening if it is not found, addressed, and properly treated. It is vital for any patient to understand just what oral cancer is and how to recognize the symptoms of it. If even just some of the symptoms are recognized, it is important to visit a dental professional immediately. The sooner that oral cancer is diagnosed and treatment can begin, the better the chance of the patient surviving and not suffering from permanent damage.
The most important thing to remember is that oral cancer does not just affect the mouth. It can actually form on the lips, the cheeks, the sinuses, the hard palate (roof of the mouth), the soft palate (behind the hard palate), the floor of the mouth, the tongue, and the pharynx. Because oral cancer can form in so many locations, knowing the symptoms of the condition are all the more important. Below, you will find information on the different symptoms of oral cancer. Whether the symptoms are noticed by you or by a professional during a routine teeth cleaning, it is best to get the concern checked immediately.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Here are the most common signs of oral cancer. Keep in mind that different people show different symptoms, so you may show just a few of these signs or you may show all of them.
- Sores on the mouth or even the face and neck that just will not heal up. If they are there for more than two weeks, have a dental professional check them.
- Swelling or lumps that appear on the lips or gums or anywhere inside the mouth.
- Patches in the mouth that appear white, velvety, speckled with white and red, or crusty.
- Feeling like something is stuck in the throat persistently.
- Chronic sore throat or chronic hoarseness.
- Teeth that feel strange or do not align properly anymore.
- Bleeding in the mouth that cannot be explained by injury or damage.
- Numbness or loss of feeling anywhere on the mouth or face.
- Chronic pain in the ear.
Keep in mind that many of these signs actually are symptoms of other, less serious, conditions. However, when the symptoms arise, there is a chance of oral cancer, so it is vitally important to see a dental professional. Oral cancer can cause permanent damage to the mouth, teeth, throat, and face. Additionally, if left untreated, the cancer can be fatal. If you see any signs or symptoms of concern, make an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible.