Oral Cancer

Symptoms & Detection

Early Detection of Oral Cancer

Regular checkups that include an examination of the entire mouth can detect precancerous conditions or the early stages of oral cancer. Your doctor and dentist should perform oral cancer screening by checking the tissues in your mouth as part of your routine exams.

Possible Oral Cancer Symptoms

Oral cancer usually occurs in people over the age of 45 but can develop at any age. These are some possible symptoms of oral cancer to watch for:

  • A sore on the lip or in the mouth that does not heal

  • A lump on the lip or in the mouth or throat

  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth

  • Unusual bleeding, pain, or numbness in the mouth

  • A sore throat that does not go away, or a feeling that something is caught in the throat

  • Difficulty or pain with chewing or swallowing

  • Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable

  • A change in the voice

  • Pain in the ear

These symptoms may be caused by oral cancer or by other, less serious problems. It is important to see a dentist or doctor about any possible oral cancer symptoms like these, so that the problem can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

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