What are the Signs of Oral Cancer?

According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancer takes the life of one person every hour in the United States. Of those people who are diagnosed, only about half of them will survive.

Aside from brain cancer, oral cancer comprises over 3/4 of all cancers affecting the head and neck.

Why is oral cancer so deadly? Because it is usually not diagnosed until after it has metastasize to other areas of your body.

What to Look For

During your oral cancer exam, we will be visually assessing and physically palpating areas like the insides of your cheek, sides of the tongue, floor of the mouth, back of the mouth/throat, and lymph nodes in your neck.

Some of the most noticeable symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Sores that don’t heal in a timely manner
  • Lumps or bumps on one side of your mouth
  • Fixed nodules under your skin
  • Atypical growths
  • Loss of the “border” around your lip lines
  • Red, white, or spotty areas
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sunken in areas

Notice that pain and discomfort aren’t on the list. Since oral cancer doesn’t usually hurt, it’s easy to overlook.

It’s important to look inside your mouth regularly (while you’re brushing or washing) to take note of any areas that don’t look like they should. When something appears abnormal, watch it for 10-14 days to see if it improves. If it doesn’t, schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as you can.

When Was Your Last Oral Cancer Screening?

If it’s been longer than eight months since your last check-up or oral cancer exam, book an appointment with us today.