Mouth cancer, or oral cancer, can occur anywhere in the mouth, on the surface of the tongue, the lips, inside the cheek, in the gums, in the roof and floor of the mouth, in the tonsils, and in the salivary glands.
Oral cancer can appear as a lesion or tumor anywhere in the mouth.
In the early stages, there are often no signs or symptoms, but smokers and heavy drinkers should have regular checkups with the dentist, as they may identify early signs.
Signs and symptoms include:
- patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue, usually red or red and white in color
- mouth ulcers or sores that do not heal
- swelling that persists for over 3 weeks
- a lump or thickening of the skin or lining of the mouth
- pain when swallowing
- loose teeth with no apparent reason
- poorly fitting dentures
- jaw pain or stiffness
- sore throat
- a sensation that something is stuck in the throat
- painful tongue
- hoarse voice
- pain in the neck or ear that does not go away
Having any of these symptoms does not mean that a person has mouth cancer, but it is worth checking with a doctor.
A number of lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of mouth cancer.
- quitting or avoiding tobacco
- consuming alcohol in moderation or not at all
- avoid excessive sun exposure and using sunscreen on the lips
- avoiding junk foods, saturated fats, and processed meats