Oral Cancer Awareness

Oral cancer refers to the cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth (oral cavity). It is a pathologic process which begins with an asymptomatic stage during which the usual cancer signs may not be readily noticeable. This makes the oral cancer examinations performed by the dental surgeon critically important. It is one of several types of cancers grouped in a category called head and neck cancers. Oral cancers can be of varied histologic types. The most common type of oral cancer is the malignant squamous cell carcinoma.
Oral cancer can occur in many different places in the oral cavity and maxillofacial region:
  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Tongue
  • Inner lining of the cheeks
  • Roof of the mouth
  • Floor of the mouth (under the tongue)
  • Salivary Glands
  • Oropharyngeal Region (throat)
  • Face

Any noticeable abnormalities in the tongue, gums, mouth or surrounding area should be evaluated as quickly as possible.

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer may include:
  • A lip or mouth sore that doesn’t heal
  • A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • A growth or lump inside your mouth
  • Mouth pain
  • Ear pain
  • Difficult or painful swallowing

Make an appointment with your doctor or dentist if you have any of these persistent signs and symptoms that bother you and last more than two weeks.