What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
You can check your mouth for early signs of oral cancer. All you need to do is open your mouth and look into a mirror.1 Check your lips, gums, tongue, and all the hard and soft parts of your mouth and throat.2 Here’s what to look for:
Tiny white or red spots
Sores that bleed easily or do not heal
A change in the color of tissues
A rough spot
A crusted or small eroded area
A change in how your teeth fit together2
Other symptoms of oral cancer include pain, tenderness, or numbness.2 In addition, some people with the disease have trouble swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue or jaw.2
If you notice any of these problems, see your dental professional. Many of these symptoms can be caused by something other than oral cancer, often something less serious.2 If it does turn out to be oral cancer, the disease is easier to treat when it is caught in the early stages.3
1 “Oral Cancer.” American Cancer Society, 2007. www.cancer.org/downloads/PRO/OralCancer.pdf Accessed 2010.
2 “Oral Cancer.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2607.aspx Accessed 2010.
3 “Oral Cancer Screening. Patient Version.” National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, June 8, 2009. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/oral/patient Accessed 2010.