It's very important to notice the earliest mouth cancer symptoms as soon as they appear. The sooner any possible tumor is detected, the better the outlook. The problem is that mouth cancer symptoms are often hard to spot. Most people won't get any early symptoms of oral cancer at all, but others may get one or two of the following;
A white or red patch inside the mouth or on the lip is one
most common symptoms of oral cancer. It may also look like a
with red speckles. White and red patches can be the early appearance of
cells becoming abnormal. If they are left untreated, they may turn into
An ulcer or sore spot in your mouth or on your lip that
doesn't heal can be one of the early mouth cancer symptoms.
Sores that last longer than 10 days without healing should definitely
be checked by a dentist.
If you're having problems with swallowing, you may also
have difficulty chewing, moving your jaw, or moving your tongue. This
symptom is NOT specific to oral cancer, and can be caused by other
conditions too. But you should still see your dentist about it!
A frequent or persistent earache should be checked out by
your medical practitioner. An earache is usually caused by an ear
infection. BUT, in some cases, it may be related to
This includes your dentures not fitting correctly. A tumor within the jawbone can cause your teeth to shift position. You might
notice changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite, and
possibly changes in the way a denture fits.
Bleeding from the mouth can be caused by many things.
Easily the most common cause is simple gum disease. BUT any bleeding
from your mouth is NOT normal, and needs to be checked out by a
dentist. It is one of the important mouth cancer symptoms.
Any swelling or lump in your mouth should be looked at by a dentist. By far the most frequent cause of a swelling or lump is an infection, such as a dental abscess over a dead tooth. But once again, any swelling is NOT normal, and is a signal that something is wrong.
About mouth cancer
Mouth cancer is basically an overgrowth of some types of cells in the mouth. Mouth cancer includes any cancer that starts anywhere in the mouth, for example:
tongue - see tongue cancer pictures.
Jaw bone - see jaw bone cancer.
under the tongue
inside the cheeks and lips
your palate (roof of the mouth)
Types of mouth cancer
Nearly all mouth cancers are of the type "squamous cell carcinoma". These develop in the special cells that line the inside of your mouth. One of the real dangers of this type of cancer is that it can go unnoticed in its early stages.
It is frequently painless, and there's not much to see when it's small. However your dentist can see or feel the changes in the mouth tissues while the tumor is still very small, or in its earliest stages.
Read more about tongue cancer at cancer of the tongue.
Causes of mouth cancer symptoms
Like all cancers, we don't know the precise cause of each tumor that develops. However we CAN say what factors seem to be involved in most cases:
Diagnosis of mouth cancer
You definitely get the best chance of a complete recovery if the tumor is diagnosed and treated early. If you visit your dentist for regular check-ups, he will probably be the first person to see something in your mouth that could be a tumor. He will refer you to the nearest hospital or oral medicine specialist for a definite diagnosis. If they agree with your dentist's concerns, a biopsy will be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Of course, if you think you have any mouth cancer symptoms at any time, don't hesitate one second to phone your dentist and make an appointment as soon as you can.
Staging the cancer.
If your biopsy confirms that you have a cancer, you will need to have some more tests to find out how far it has spread, and to help decide the best type of treatment. This process is called staging the cancer. The tests may include the following:
You can read more about the stages of cancer at stage 3 cancer.
Treatment of mouth cancer.
Treatment depends on the type of mouth cancer, your mouth cancer symptoms, where it is and how far it has spread. There are three main treatments for mouth cancer. Your doctor will go over these options with you:
You can read more about surgery for tongue cancer at glossectomy.
Prevention of mouth cancer
There are some simple things you can do to help reduce your risk of mouth cancer. These include:
Mouth cancer symptoms are hard to spot in the early stages. This is why it's important to have a look in your own mouth each week, and make a note of anything different.
If it hasn't settled down or healed within 10 days, go see your dentist. He will be able to spot the symptoms of oral cancer at an early stage, and arrange treatment. When it comes to mouth cancer, symptoms should be taken seriously!