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Early Warning Signs of Oral Cancer: Everything You Need to Know

Oral cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age or lifestyle, which is why you need to be aware of it. Oral cancer can occur around any one of your oral tissues, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, throat and even the salivary glands. One of the best ways to combat this aggressive disease is by catching it early on. 

However, symptoms of oral cancer may not always be visible until it has reached advanced stages. Left undetected, mouth cancer will start to spread uncontrollably within these oral tissues and even become fatal. This is why it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of cancer. Treatment for mouth cancer varies depending on your individual case, but it typically involves surgery, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. 

Regular dental check-ups are an excellent opportunity to detect signs of oral cancer because we perform an oral cancer exam during your check-ups. Screening your mouth for oral cancer every 6 months makes early detection a possibility, helping save your life before it’s too late. 

What are the Early Signs of Oral Cancer? 

Sores That Don’t Heal

Persistent sores in your mouth that don’t heal are one of the first warning signs of mouth cancer. These sores don’t always occur inside the mouth; they can even occur on your lips and cheeks. Although sores are common, it’s important to seek immediate dental care if they persist for more than 10 to 14 days without healing. While some sores do take longer to heal,  we will examine the area when you visit our clinic and recommend a biopsy if necessary to rule out the possibility of oral cancer.  

Red or White Patches

Red or white patches within your mouth that are different to the rest of your inner mouth are also a common warning sign. They indicate precancerous changes and require immediate attention as they can develop into cancer without prompt, timely attention. Additionally, you may also notice swellings, lumps or rough patches along your lips, gums and cheeks. 

Pain & Difficulty Eating 

Oral cancer can make even the most basic functions like chewing, swallowing and speaking a challenge. If you experience difficulty while eating and speaking or difficulty moving your jaw, consult your dentist immediately. You may also experience symptoms like unexplained bleeding, tenderness, numbness and pain in your mouth that could even extend to your ears. 

Persistent Lumps in the Mouth & Throat

Persistent lumps in your mouth or throat can be uncomfortable and painful. They can also affect your ability to eat and speak. If you notice a lump or if you have a persistent sore throat, make sure you seek a professional diagnosis promptly. 

Don’t ignore these signs because your life may ultimately depend on it. Seeking immediate dental care following detection can significantly improve your chances of successful treatment and recovery. So, stay alert and remember that early detection is key. If it has been a while since your last appointment or if you are worried about oral cancer, schedule an appointment at Port Melbourne Dental. Our friendly team will help you maintain good oral health and in the early detection of oral cancer.