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What Are the Early Signs of Mouth Cancer?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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.

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.

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.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By Jewellian — On Jan 09, 2014
@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!
By Ahmerus — On Jan 07, 2014

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.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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