Oral & Vision Health Blog

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month: Know the Symptoms

Oral cancer. It’s not as well-known as other types of cancer, so it’s important for people to be aware of the symptoms of oral cancer. Knowing what to watch for and when medical intervention may be necessary can relieve a lot of anxiety and worry for patients. It can also give medical professionals an edge in detecting oral cancer early. April is oral cancer awareness month. Let's learn what to look for.

The early signs of oral cancer, unfortunately, can often be overlooked or mistaken for other dental or medical problems. If that happens, the cancer may go untreated or ignored. These signs can include lingering cold-like symptoms or a toothache. Admittedly, it’s quite a leap to blame these symptoms on oral cancer. But if they persist for a week or more and don't seem to be improving, it’s worth it to investigate further. Like most other forms of cancer, early detection is vital to treatment options and opportunities. The earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated.

Other signs of oral cancer vary greatly, but should also be considered.  These symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • A mouth sore that does not go away on its own and does not heal
  • Changes in the voice
  • A lingering lump in the neck
  • Pain in the jaw or the teeth
  • Difficulty with jaw movements
  • The sensation that something is caught in the throat doesn’t leave
  • A red or white patch on the lining of the mouth, the gums or the tongue
  • Sudden and unanticipated weight loss,
  • Continual bad breath
  • An unexplained loosening of teeth
  • Problems chewing or swallowing
  • A lump in the cheek
  • Persistent pain in the mouth

There are ways to steer clear of oral cancer. But, if you have noticed any of these symptoms alone or in any combination, reach out to your dentist and health care professionals as soon as possible. It's better to eliminate the more serious possibilities as early as you can in order to get to the root cause behind your symptoms. And, it's much better to rule out cancer as a possibility or treat it quickly if it's discovered.

 

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