3 Signs You May Have Oral Cancer

Apr 02, 2024
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Oral cancer is one of the most common types of head and neck cancer, but signs often start like a common problem. Find out what some of the more serious signs are and when you should get checked.

Oral cancer is the broad term for any type of cancer that occurs on the inside of your mouth or the back of your throat. This includes your lips, gums, the inside of your cheeks, your tongue, the floor of your mouth, and the roof of your mouth. It’s one of the most common types of head and neck cancer, with 54,000 people a year diagnosed with new cases.

Oral cancer can often look like a common problem with your mouth or your lips, but with cancer, the problem doesn’t go away — it lingers on and on. The good news is that if oral cancer is caught early, it’s very treatable. 

Left untreated, though, it can spread throughout your head and neck. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant about getting any signs of oral cancer checked. At Reality Bites Dental in San Antonio, an oral cancer screening is part of our standard dental exam. 

Here are three common signs you may have oral cancer:

1. Patches in your mouth and throat

If you notice patches inside of your mouth that you can’t scrape away, these may be a precancerous condition. These patches can include various types:

  • Leukoplakia (white or gray patches in your throat that are flat)
  • Erythroplakia (flat or slightly raised red patches that may bleed when you scrape them)
  • Erythroleukoplakia (patches that are both red and white)

Our team can provide an accurate diagnosis with a comprehensive exam.

2. Lip or mouth sores

If you have an occasional sore on your lips or in your mouth that heals within a week or two — that’s not a sign of oral cancer. Most people get these from time to time. 

But if you have lip or mouth sores that don’t heal within a couple of weeks and tend to bleed easily, these are a common sign of oral cancer.

3. Numbness or pain

If you have numbness or pain that occurs with no obvious explanation in your face, mouth, or neck, and it doesn’t go away, this could be a sign of oral cancer as well. A spot of numbness or pain that just randomly occurs and then dissipates is likely due to another, less serious cause, but if it lingers on, you should get it checked.

If you’re concerned you may have signs of oral cancer, our team at Reality Bites Dental will conduct a thorough screening for you. Just call our San Antonio office at 210-399-5951 or use our online scheduler to book your appointment anytime!

Reality Bites Dental