Cancer has become a global epidemic in recent years with its cure still underway. According to research, oral cancer is one of the most common types of cancer with many of its victims, identifying it in its late phases. It’s truly a tragedy that needs to be addressed rapidly. Early symptoms of oral cancer are often mistaken for other dental issues such as toothaches or gum diseases. This fact could be the leading reason as to why many oral cancer cases are identified as fatal. So, what should you look out for when determining the probability of cancer in your oral space?
Commonly Affected Areas
As the name suggests, oral cancer symptoms can occur anywhere in the mouth. You may notice abnormalities on the lips, the surface of the tongue, inside the cheek, floor of the mouth, in the salivary glands, in the roof of the mouth and the tonsils. Oral cancer is often categorized as a type of neck and head cancer that is handled similarly to other neck and head cancers.
Sores In Your Mouth
Not all mouth sores need to cause an alarm. Most sores in the mouth are benign and are bound to go away within a few days or so. Nonetheless, a lesion that persists for more than three weeks should be a red flag. Normally, they are located on the floor of the mouth under the tongue or hidden behind the back of teeth, on gums. Sores caused by ulcers are rather thin and soft and won’t stick around long. Those caused by tumors tend to be thick, hard, painful, and may bleed occasionally.
Mixed Red & White Patches
You may notice a mix of red and white patches in your oral space, scientifically termed as erythroleukoplakia. It describes the abnormal cell growth in your mouth that manifests itself in the form of patches and may become cancerous. If the spots last more than two weeks, it signals continual abnormal cell growth. These patches are also known to be painless during the early stages of oral cancer.
Abnormal Loosening Of Teeth
Symptoms of oral cancer, as earlier stated, can easily be mistaken for other dental troubles. Loosening of teeth is just one of them. A growing tumor weakens the gums and other adjacent tissues that hold teeth firmly. With weakened sockets, you may start to notice your teeth getting loose despite maintaining all oral hygiene standards. Your dentist will take a biopsy test to affirm the possibility of oral cancer in your gums.
Rapid Weight Loss
Most patients diagnosed with oral cancer complain of difficulty in chewing and swallowing of food and saliva. Weight loss will probably fall in as a progressed symptom of oral cancer. Due to the painful sores and the occasional bleeding, patients tend to eat less, which affects an individual’s weight. Another commonly viewed reason for weight loss emanates from the tumor spreading to other body organs such as the liver. Once cancer spreads, it begins to affect the normal functioning of other body parts and eventually, general weight loss.
A Lump On The Lip, Throat Or Mouth
The lump usually will sit on the lip, mouth or throat during the early stages of oral cancer. It epitomizes a tiny but hard ball; at first, it may seem harmless and painless. Over time, it is bound to grow gradually to the point of rupture. Unlike normal lumps, wounds, and sores that heal, this lump won’t heal and will continue to open up a huger cave on the affected site. Once it’s ruptured, it may become excruciatingly painful and may invite further infections seeing that it reveals a deep depression. This is probably one of the most straightforward symptoms of oral cancer.
Due to the sores in your mouth, you may find it difficult keeping up with routine oral hygiene habits. This could trigger halitosis (bad breath condition) from the build-up of bacteria and food debris. However, bad breath doesn’t always signal the presence of oral cancer. Your dentist may need to carry out further tests to confirm if the cause is indeed oral cancer.
Difficulty Swallowing Or Chewing
As your mouth begins to house tumors and other foreign matter, regular tasks such as swallowing, moving the jaw, speaking, chewing and lifting the tongue may turn problematic. You may notice some stiffness or pain when trying to manage these activities. If it doesn’t go away over time, consider rushing to your dentist’s office for diagnosis and immediate treatment.
Other common oral cancer symptoms include ear pain, chronic sore throats, hoarseness in the voice, and a sudden change in how dentures fit. These symptoms are likely to share similarities with other dental conditions. It’s highly advisable that you seek expert help as soon as you notice them. Call us today to schedule an appointment with our qualified dentists and let us help you put your doubts to the grave.