Cancer is one of the most feared diagnoses that patients can receive. While many treatment advancements have been made in curing cancer, it is no secret that there is still a high death rate among cancer patients. Oral cancer is an uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to the tissues within the mouth. It is important to be able to identify all of the oral tissues in order to pay attention to symptoms that may become present. The mouth is made up of: the lips, tongue, floor of the mouth, palate, gums, teeth, sinuses, and the throat. If oral cancer is caught early, successful intervention can often be given.
Knowing the oral tissues allows you to identify symptoms that come up. Common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Any type of growth in the mouth cavity. These growths include lumps, bumps, rough spots, or crusty spots.
- White, red, or speckled patches inside the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding inside the mouth
- Persistent sores in the mouth, lips, or back of the throat
- Unexplained numbness in the lips, cheeks, tongue, or throat
- Unexplained, persistent pain anywhere inside the mouth, face, or throat
- A feeling that something caught in the back of the throat
- Chronic hoarseness or change in voice
- Chronic sore throat
- Ear pain
- A change in the way in which your teeth or dentures fit inside the mouth
- Dramatic weight loss
As you can see from the above list, the symptoms of oral cancer can vary quite dramatically. While white patches may be obvious, a sore throat or ear pain may not make you think “symptom of oral cancer.” Being aware of your oral tissues and the symptoms of oral cancer can help save your life.
At Group Health Dental, we want you to maintain a healthy mouth for life. Taking proper care of your oral health, limiting bad habits (e.g. smoking, over consumption of alcohol, etc.), and regular visits to your dentist are vital to protecting you from oral cancer.