Main Oral Cancer Symptoms
Oral cancer strikes nearly 30,000 patients every year. This potentially life-threatening condition often has few noticeable symptoms until it reaches its advanced stages. Oral cancer screenings are highly recommended to catch the condition in its earlier stages when it is most easily treated. Being aware of the symptoms can also help identify the disease early and may ultimately save your life.
Oral cancer affects the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your cheeks, lips, throat, sinuses and palate. Symptoms can include:
• Painless white or red patches
• Irregular bumps
• Patches of erosion
• Rough spots in the mouth
• Sensitivity or pain in the mouth
• Unexplained oral bleeding
• Chronic ear pain
• Chronic sore throat
• Unexplained hoarseness
• A sudden change in bite or the way teeth fit together
The symptoms of oral cancer often mimic other conditions, including gum disease, canker sores and other dental diseases. However, if you have any of these symptoms and they last longer than two weeks, you should schedule an oral cancer screening to ensure your oral health.
Although oral cancer can have a genetic link, your risk may also be increased if your drink heavily, smoke, have had excessive sun exposure or you have had HPV, a common sexually transmitted disease. Take steps to reduce your risk by eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking, cutting back on your alcohol use, using sunblock each time you are outside and visiting our dentist at least twice a year for a comprehensive dental exam.