5 Early Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

Cancer is one of the most common and deadly diseases known to the medical community and can attack almost every major organ in the body. One report noted that over 7.5 million people die from cancer each year; however, it also revealed that up to forty percent of these deaths might have been avoided with early detection. Many types of cancer can cause symptoms early on, and some of them, such as oral cancer, can be treated and even cured if you are vigilant in spotting their signs and symptoms.  

1.   A Small Lump in Your Cheek

While some growths in your mouth can be the result of eating certain foods or stress, such as canker sores or swollen taste buds, these typically resolve themselves in a matter of days. However, a persistent lump in either cheek that may or not be painful to the touch can be an early warning sign that a tumor is developing in the area. Lumps that are visibly swollen or that bleed when manipulated should be examined right away.

2.   White Patches on the Gums

Sore or irritated gums can be an indicator of gingivitis; however, if you see white or pale patches on your gums or tongue, you may want to see your doctor or dentist as soon as possible. These patches, which may spread with time, may be an indicator of oral cancer. Even if these areas are not painful, any color changes could mean the disease is advancing. They may also travel to the roof of the mouth or tonsils.

3.   Persistent Sore Throat

Oral cancer is not confined to the tongue or gums. It can also affect the throat and cause pain, as well as interfere with talking or swallowing. While a sore throat may sometimes be caused by a change in the weather, allergies, or strep throat, pain that does not diminish with treatment may be indicative of a bigger problem. Because some symptoms of strep throat can mimic those of oral cancer, such as a lump in the neck and white patches in the throat, it is wise to have a doctor diagnose the problem as soon as possible.

4.   Denture Pain

If you wear dentures and they do not seem to fit as they once did or suddenly cause you pain, this is not a problem to be ignored. Bridges and other dentures that cause sudden pain could mean the presence of swelling in the mouth, and inflammation may be an early warning sign of oral cancer. Visiting an oral surgeon, such as Dr. George Hatzigiannis, could help you get to the root of the problem before it becomes more serious.

There are also several advantages to visiting a dentist who is also an oral surgeon. For example, if an examination does reveal sores or other inflammation that may indicate cancer, a doctor who performs oral surgery may be able to treat you from start to finish without having to outsource any part of the treatment plan to another facility. This can offer you peace of mind if you are facing a cancer diagnosis.

5.   Persistent Halitosis

While occasional bad breath can be common after eating some foods or first thing in the morning, persistent halitosis may be an early warning sign of oral cancer. As cancer grows, it creates bacterium that cannot be destroyed by everyday mouthwash or toothpaste. This issue can be embarrassing; however, ignoring it can have a serious impact on your health later on and may even mean facing a dire diagnosis once the cancer has spread.

While oral cancer can be frightening, it may be treated and eradicated when caught early on. Learning the signs of this disease and when to contact your doctor can help promote and maintain good health, both now and in the future.

 

Image courtesy of [patrisyu] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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