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Oral Cancer Symptoms and Early Detection

Oral Cancer Symptoms and Early Detection

Dentists look for early signs of mouth cancer during regular checkup appointments, but it’s also important for you to recognize these warning signals so you can bring them to the attention of your dentist right away.

Signs and Symptoms

Mouth cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the lips, tongue and throat, as well as the salivary glands, pharynx, larynx and sinuses. And because early detection is crucial in overcoming this disease, you’ll want to visit your doctor immediately if any of the following symptoms persist for more than two weeks.

1. Persistent mouth sore: A sore in the mouth that does not heal is the most common symptom of oral cancer.

2. Pain: Persistent mouth pain is another common oral cancer sign.

3. A lump or thickening in the cheek.

4. A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth.

5. A sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat that does not go away.

6. Difficulty swallowing or chewing.

7. Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue.

8. Numbness of the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth.

9. Jaw swelling that makes dentures hurt or fit poorly.

10. Loosening of the teeth.

11. Pain in the teeth or jaw.

12. Voice changes.

13. A lump in the neck.

14. Weight loss.

15. Persistent bad breath.

Oral Cancer Screening and Treatment

Oral cancer examinations by your dentist are quick, painless and crucial to detecting it in its early stages. During a routine checkup of your teeth and gums, your dentist also visually checks your lips and face for signs of spreading beyond your mouth. He or she may also palpate the neck and jaw area, and examine both the top and underside of your tongue. These oral cancer screenings should be done every six months.

Ultimately, if you know what to look for and see your dentist for regular screenings, early signs of mouth cancer can be identified and taken care of before they become a serious problem.