Oral cancer warning signs that all patients should recognize are listed and reviewed by Maryland oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Leonard Spector.
Oral cancel has many warning signs that patients should review. Patients should see their dentist regularly for examinations. In my oral surgery office, we educate our patients regarding oral cancer, screen all patients, treat patients as appropriate, and refer patients to other health care professionals when indicated.
Here are some warning signs for oral cancer:
- Persistent mouth sore, where the sore on the mouth does not heal. This is probably the most common symptom of oral cancer.
- Pain or persistent mouth pain including pain in the teeth or jaw. This is another common oral cancer sign.
- A lump or thickening in the cheek.
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth.
- A persistent sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat that does not go away.
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing.
- Difficulty moving the jaw or the tongue.
- Numbness to the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth.
- Jaw swelling that makes dentures fit poorly.
- Voice changes not related to other causes.
- A lump in the neck.
- Persistent bad breath.
- These signs and symptoms can be present for days or weeks. It is important to note that these symptoms may have causes other than oral cancer, but they should all be considered warning signs and be evaluated by a professional. In our oral and maxillofacial surgery office, we evaluate each patient carefully, review their medical history, and either perform a biopsy or refer them out for more extensive care.
In fact, in our office, every patient whom I see in the office gets a complete oral cancer screening. This includes a full inspection of the mouth and the throat, including the soft palate and the tonsil area, and also a full neck examination and palpation.
Even if the patient has not been referred specifically for an evaluation of an area of the mouth that could be a potential area of cancer, everybody is screened.
Dr. Leonard Spector