Oral Cancer: Symptoms  

Man pressing into his jaw with a look of pain

What are symptoms of oral cancer?

Oral cancer is often found because a person notices abnormal changes in their mouth. You can check your mouth for early signs of oral cancer. All you need to do is look at your mouth in a mirror. Look for:

  • A sore on your lip or in your mouth that won’t heal

  • A lump or thickening on your lip, in your mouth, or in your throat

  • A white or red patch on your gums, tongue, or the lining of your mouth

Other symptoms include:

  • Abnormal bleeding, pain, or numbness in your mouth

  • A feeling of something caught in your throat

  • Trouble or pain when moving your tongue, chewing, or swallowing

  • Loose dentures or changes in the way they fit

  • Swelling around your jaw

  • Loose or painful teeth

  • A lump, swelling, or mass in your neck that doesn’t go away

  • A change in your voice

When to see your healthcare provider

Many of these symptoms may be caused by other health problems. But it's important to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have cancer. Tell your doctor or dentist right away about any problems you have in your mouth or throat.

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