As part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, we are looking at the symptoms of mouth cancer and what you can do to help your dentist spot the early signs.
Mouth cancer strikes any area of the mouth including lips and gums, and has been known to start spreading down into the throat. We have discussed ways in which people can lower their chances of being stricken with mouth cancer in a previous article about The Causes of Mouth Cancer, but what symptoms can you look out for? As with breast and testicular cancer, checking for symptoms yourself can make a difference to survival rates if spotted early enough.
Symptoms of mouth cancer include:
- Sore mouth ulcers that do not heal within a few weeks
- Unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth that do not go away
- Unexplained, persistent lumps in the lymph glands in the neck that do not go away
The above are the most common symptoms that are seen in cases of mouth cancer. Further symptoms include:
- Pain or difficulty in swallowing
- Changes in your voice, or speech related problems
- Unintentional weight loss
- Bleeding or numbness in the mouth
- Loosening of one or more teeth with no obvious reasoning
- A tooth socket that does not heal after an extraction
- Difficulty in moving the jaw
- Red or white patches on your mouth lining. These are common, so don’t panic, but they can sometimes turn into cancer, so remain vigilant
The above symptoms can all be harmless and be caused by something as innocuous as an infection, but if you have any one or more of them that do not disappear after three weeks or longer then book an immediate appointment with your dental practitioner to ensure that you are not at risk.
Visiting your dental practitioner every 6-12 months is an imperative to keep a good level of oral health, and could save your life if mouth cancer has a foothold in your system. The earlier a diagnosis is made, then the higher the chances for a full recovery, and a much longer life.
There is no set symptom that states whether it is, or is not, mouth cancer, so always seek the opinion of the experts.
Your dentist will be looking for any symptoms when you go for your regular check-ups, but keeping an eye out yourself will increase chances of the illness taking hold. No one knows your own body like you, so you must be vigilant.
For more information about Mouth Cancer or to arrange a Free Mouth Cancer Check Up please contact us here.
Mouth Cancer Action Month is held in November every year and is supported by the Mouth Cancer Foundation and the British Dental Health Foundation.