Oral Cancer: How much do you know?


Oral cancer is a type of cancer that is not discussed as often as some, but it should be. It can develop in any part of the mouth, sinuses and throat, and can be deadly if not diagnosed and treated early.

Some common symptoms of oral cancer can include:

  • a growth, lump or sore in the mouth that hasn’t gone away after 2 weeks
  • white, red or white & red speckled spots anywhere in the mouth or on the tongue
  • bleeding, numbness or pain in any area of the face, mouth or neck
  • the feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
  • chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the tongue or jaw
  • Ear pain
  • Change in your bite (the way your teeth fit together)
  • Dramatic weight loss for no reason

If you notice any of these changes, contact your dentist or health care professional immediately. They can detect and diagnose oral cancer by preforming a simple biopsy on suspicious looking tissue.

There are certain things you can do to help lower your risk of oral cancer. Stop smoking and all other tobacco use, and only drink alcohol in moderation. Wearing UV protection on your face (including lips), limiting sun exposure and a healthy diet are some other things that help lower your risk of oral cancer. Regular visits to your dentist are necessary to maintain optimal oral health.

There is no definitive way to avoid cancer, but with a few small lifestyle changes you can definitely lower your risk of developing it. Oral cancer can be life threatening if not caught and treated early. Make sure to visit your dentist every 6 months for a regular exam and cleaning, as well as an oral cancer screening exam.

You can find more information about oral cancer at the National Cancer Institute website www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/oral.

Information for this blog was taken from:


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 10, 2013

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.