Oral Cancer Symptoms
Mouth cancer is cancer that forms in any part of the mouth (oral cavity). Mouth cancer can develop on lips, gums, the tongue, inner cheeks, upper pallet or under the tongue. Cancer inside of the mouth is sometimes called oral cancer.
Symptoms can include:
- A persistent lip or mouth sore
- A white or reddish patch inside your mouth
- A growth or lump inside your mouth
- Loose teeth
- Pain inside your mouth
- Pain in one or both ears
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sour throat
If you have any or several symptoms especially if they last 2 weeks or more see your doctor or dentist. Don’t panic, cancer is not the most common cause of some of the above-mentioned symptoms so your doctor will probably investigate other causes first. But with any cancer it is better to diagnose it sooner than later.
DNA mutations in the mouths cellular structure causes mouth cancers. When cells die new ones replace them, DNA is responsible for regulating that process through instruction. Mutated DNA causes a breakdown of that instruction and the result is an accumulating abnormal mouth cancer cells that form a tumor. In time they can spread throughout the mouth and other parts of the body from cell to cell.
Oral Cancer Risk factors
No one really understands what causes these DNA mutations that cause mouth cancer. However, researchers have identified factors that likely increase the risk.
Things that can increase your risk of oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol use
- Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV)
- A lowered immune system
- Overexposure to sunlight (lips & skin)
During regular dental visits ask your dentist to check for signs of cancer. Your dentist can spot changes that may be pre-cancer or starting to form. This highlights the need for regular check-ups especially as we get older. Doctors can do more when mouth cancer is spotted early.
If you have questions or concerns about cancer make an appointment to see Dr. Mathews at Erbsville Dental in Waterloo