Oral Cancer Symptoms

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, but many are not even aware of the symptoms. Early signs of oral cancer may be mistaken for other problems like a cold or toothache. However, if symptoms last for several weeks, it is important to see your dentist for an oral cancer screening. Early detection may result in better treatment outcomes. It is also important to note that many of these symptoms may be sue to less serious conditions.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

In its earliest stage, oral cancer is painless. This is the main reason oral cancer screening with your dentist is so important. They can check areas that are hard to see and have been trained on what to look for. The most common symptom is pain caused by non-healing red or white patches or even an ulcer.

Anything you see that does not heal after 14 days should be evaluated by a dentist. Other symptoms may include:

  • Swelling, lump, wart, crust, sore or rough spot with irritation
  • Mass in the mouth or neck
  • Red or white patches on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or mouth lining
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth or lips
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, talking or
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • Persistent hoarse voice, change in voice
  • Sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat

If any of these symptoms do not heal after 14 days, you need to be evaluated by a dentist.

Dr. Kate Egan, Dentists of Highland Park in St. Paul, MN