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5 Possible Signs of Oral Cancer

To help raise awareness about oral and oropharyngeal cancer, several organizations are highlighting the early signs and symptoms to watch for during Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

To help raise awareness about oral and oropharyngeal cancer, several organizations are highlighting the early signs and symptoms to watch for during Oral Cancer Awareness Month. The following are 5 possible signs of oral cancer that a person should look for when performing a self-exam. An oral health professional should be contacted if the patient is experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms:

1. SORES THAT STICK AROUND

The mouth, lips, and gingiva should be examined for any visible sores. Discoloration or mouth ulcers may present on the inside of the cheek, lips, tongue, floor and roof of the mouth, or gingiva. A clinician should examine any sores that linger for more than 2 to 3 weeks.

2. PAIN

Persistent mouth pain, facial tingling or numbness, chronic sore throat, or hoarseness warrants a visit to a dental professional. These symptoms may be linked to other conditions, however; visiting a dentist will help rule out the possibilities of oral cancer, and provide effective treatment options.

3. SWELLING

Lymph nodes should not feel hard, or elicit pain when touched. If a lymph node is painful, swollen, hard, and persists for more than 2 weeks, it’s time to see a dental professional.

4. DIFFICULTY CHEWING

An oral health professional should be contacted right away if a patient is having difficulty chewing, moving the tongue or jaw, swallowing or speaking. Tooth looseness, pain in the teeth or jaw and jaw swelling are also symptoms that should be examined by a medical professional.

5. EARLY DETECTION

An oral cancer examination is essential to the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of oral cancer. For more information on how to conduct an at-home oral exam, visit checkyourmouth.org.

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