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What Are the Early Signs of Mouth Cancer?

Early signs of mouth cancer can include persistent sores, unusual lumps, or long-lasting pain in the mouth. White or red patches on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth may also signal risk. Difficulty swallowing or changes in your voice are additional warning signs. Spotting these symptoms early could be life-saving. How can you stay vigilant? Continue reading to learn more.
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

One of the most prevalent early signs of mouth cancer a person might experience is a change in the way his mouth looks or feels. An individual with this type of cancer can also develop sores in the mouth that don’t heal as expected. Sometimes an affected person will develop mouth or jaw pain or experience the loss of teeth as a sign of oral cancer as well. Painful chewing and swallowing are also among the early symptoms of this disease.

Often, the earliest sign of the presence of mouth cancer is a change in the way the mouth looks. For instance, a person with this type of cancer could experience swelling or thickening of the mouth, especially in the cheek area. Sometimes, discolored patches of mouth tissue indicate the presence of cancer as well. For example, a person might notice that the tissue inside his mouth becomes whitish or begins to appear reddened. In some cases, the inside of the patient’s mouth will even take on a spotted or patterned look with reddish and whitish spots.

Mouth cancer can cause frequent sore throats.
Mouth cancer can cause frequent sore throats.

Unexplained wounds, rough patches of tissue, or growths can also develop as early signs of mouth cancer. For example, a person who has this type of cancer might develop a lumpy or bumpy growth inside the mouth. Open sores or crusty areas can also form as symptoms of this disease. The sores and rough patches that can indicate mouth cancer might not only develop inside the mouth, but also on the lips. Some individuals develop such sores for other reasons, but an individual may be more likely to suspect mouth cancer if he has sores that do not heal in a reasonable amount of time.

Pain inside the mouth may be an early sign of mouth cancer.
Pain inside the mouth may be an early sign of mouth cancer.

Also among the early signs of mouth cancer are problems with the teeth, jaw, and throat. When a person has mouth cancer, he might experience loose teeth or have trouble making his dentures fit comfortably. An individual with this type of cancer could also have a stiff jaw and frequent sore throats. Sometimes he will experience difficulty swallowing as well.

Dentures that don't fit properly may be a sign of mouth cancer.
Dentures that don't fit properly may be a sign of mouth cancer.

Unfortunately, pain is also one of the early signs of mouth cancer. An individual with this disease might notice pain inside his mouth, including pain in the cheeks, gum tissue, tongue, or jaw. An affected person can experience pain when he chews or swallows as well as when he opens his mouth wider than normal.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a TheHealthBoard writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a TheHealthBoard writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

Jewellian
@SpecialBug: If there is anything that can be done to prevent mouth cancer-it is: avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and if you smoke or chew tobacco, stop!
Ahmerus

Mouth cancer is also termed oral cancer and is not limited to the mouth area. Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer can also appear in the sinuses and throat. Don't delay making an appointment with a dentist at the first signs of mouth cancer.

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    • Mouth cancer can cause frequent sore throats.
      By: absolutimages
      Mouth cancer can cause frequent sore throats.
    • Pain inside the mouth may be an early sign of mouth cancer.
      By: yanmingzhang
      Pain inside the mouth may be an early sign of mouth cancer.
    • Dentures that don't fit properly may be a sign of mouth cancer.
      By: Bartkowski
      Dentures that don't fit properly may be a sign of mouth cancer.
    • Alcohol is associated with an increased risk of mouth cancer.
      By: BlueSkyImages
      Alcohol is associated with an increased risk of mouth cancer.
    • In some cases, mouth cancer can produce abnormal sores or patches on the lips.
      By: alex83ch
      In some cases, mouth cancer can produce abnormal sores or patches on the lips.
    • Smoking cigarettes may increase an individual's risk of developing mouth cancer.
      By: illustrez-vous
      Smoking cigarettes may increase an individual's risk of developing mouth cancer.
    • Long-term use of mouthwash that contains alcohol may cause oral cancer.
      By: theartofphoto
      Long-term use of mouthwash that contains alcohol may cause oral cancer.
    • Problems with the throat may be a sign of mouth cancer.
      By: JackF
      Problems with the throat may be a sign of mouth cancer.