Mouth Cancer: The Signs and Symptoms You Need to Know

Mouth cancer affects the mouth, including the tongue, lips, throat, gums, and salivary glands. In fact, this type of cancer has one of the highest death rates of all cancers when left untreated—which is why it’s so important to know how to spot mouth cancer symptoms as soon as possible.

This guide will walk you through some of the telltale signs and symptoms of mouth cancer that you should be on the lookout for if you think you have it.

Lip or Mouth Sores That Don’t Heal

One of the earliest signs of mouth cancer is a lip or mouth sore that seems to not want to heal. If a couple of weeks pass without a mouth ulcer healing, this is a serious sign of mouth cancer that should not be ignored.

Especially if the sore gets worse, visit your doctor immediately to assess the possibility of mouth cancer. These lesions can be painful and gradually become thicker, making it important to catch them early.

Difficulty Swallowing

In oral cancer, patients often experience dysphagia, meaning it becomes harder for your body to move food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach. Dysphagia is often linked to underlying diseases, such as oral cancer. If you’ve recently had trouble swallowing, this is a sign of mouth cancer that you should bring up to your doctor.

This next symptom is one of the more serious signs of mouth cancer…

Loose Teeth

Your childhood isn’t the only time you may experience loose teeth. In fact, oral cancer patients can experience loose teeth in the later stages of cancer. This is a more unusual symptom, making it important that you have the condition investigated as soon as possible.

The next symptom of mouth cancer may come as a surprise to you…

Bad Breath

If you’ve noticed that you’ve recently had persistent bad breath, you may need more than a breath mint. While persistent bad breath can be linked to numerous medical conditions, one of the possibilities is mouth cancer. Especially if your bad breath is combined with other symptoms, seek medical help for a potential diagnosis.

Mouth cancer can also cause noticeable symptoms in the jaw…

Swelling and Pain in the Jaw

Jaw pain is can often be caused by the overlapping of oral cancer and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), or the imbalance of your jaw’s joints. While the pain can derive solely from oral cancer, it’s one of the more rare symptoms. If you experience this symptom, be sure to see your doctor, as it can be a sign of both oral cancer and TMJ.

The next sign of mouth cancer may cause you to think twice next time you have this symptom…

Sore Throat

Along with difficulty swallowing, oral cancer patients may also experience a sore throat. While this may just be a typical sore throat, it can also be a sign that mouth cancer has spread to the lymph nodes of the neck. Any cancer has the potential to spread to any other part of the body, making this a symptom that should not be ignored.

More often than not, mouth cancer can affect how you sound and not just how you feel…

Hoarse Voice

A hoarse voice can be caused by a cold or sinus infection as well as using your voice too much, but it can also be triggered by more serious conditions, like mouth cancer. When mouth cancer spreads to your lymph nodes, it can cause hoarseness of a change in the voice.

If you notice hoarseness in your voice, see your healthcare provider right away, as mouth cancer can be found at a very early stage with this symptom.

The last sign of mouth cancer is one of the most common symptoms…

Bleeding in the Mouth

Mouth bleeding can often be linked to oral cancer, but you shouldn’t immediately assume the worst. Bleeding from the mouth can also be caused by brushing or flossing. Still, it’s important to take it seriously, especially if you notice you have other symptoms of mouth cancer.

Mouth Pain

If you’ve been feeling pain in your mouth that won’t go away, this can be a sign of mouth cancer. Typically, mouth cancer rarely causes pain in the early stages, making it extra important that you see your doctor if you’re experiencing oral pain.

Your mouth isn’t the only area that can experience pain with mouth cancer…

Ear Pain

While this next symptom is rare, it’s important to look out for. The pain caused by mouth cancer may spread to the jaw and cheeks, causing a feeling of fullness in the ear. This is far from a pleasant feeling, making it crucial to get it checked out as soon as possible.

Mouth cancer can also make basic functions of the mouth difficult…


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