What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
Your regular checkup is a good time for your dentist or doctor to check your entire mouth for signs of cancer. Regular checkups can detect the early stages of oral cancer or conditions that may lead to oral cancer. Ask your doctor or dentist about checking the tissues in your mouth as part of your routine exam.
Common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Patches inside your mouth or on your lips that are white, a mixture of red and white, or red
- White patches (leukoplakia) are the most common. White patches sometimes become malignant.
- Mixed red and white patches (erythroleukoplakia) are more likely than white patches to become malignant.
- Red patches (erythroplakia) are brightly colored, smooth areas that often become malignant.
- A sore on your lip or in your mouth that won't heal
- Bleeding in your mouth
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty or pain when swallowing
- Difficulty wearing dentures
- A lump in your neck
- An earache
Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor or dentist so that any problem can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Most often, these symptoms do not mean cancer. An infection or another problem can cause the same symptoms.