The broad term for cancer that affects the inside of your mouth is oral cancer, or mouth cancer. White patches or bleeding sores on the lips or inside the mouth are common signs of oral cancer. The fact that these changes do not go away distinguishes a potential cancer from a common problem. Oral cancer can spread to other parts of your head and neck from your mouth and throat if it is not treated. Sixty-three percent of people diagnosed with oral cavity cancer survive five years later.
This is an alarming rate which calls for immediate attention towards your oral health. Here are some basic symptoms that you should look out for
Symptoms of oral cancer
Oral cancer can have a lot of symptoms that may appear as some traumatic wound or accidental lacerate. It is important to understand the basic symptoms of oral cancer and get them examined by a specialist as soon as possible. Here are some common signs you may notice
- Wounds on your lip or inside your mouth that drain effectively and don’t recuperate in two weeks or less.
- Skin on your lips, gums, or inside of your mouth that are rough or crusty.
- Areas of your mouth that bleed without a clear cause.
- Numbness, pain, or tenderness in your mouth, face, or neck that has no obvious cause.
- Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving your tongue or jaw.
- Weight loss that wasn’t planned.
- persistent bad breath
For making sure that you are safe, you can undergo further examinations from a medical set up. Or you may do a self-examination to look for any unusual changes.
The steps you can take to take a self-exam are listed below. Naturally, if you notice anything suspicious, such as an abnormal lump or sore that easily bleeds, call and schedule an appointment with an ENT doctor right away.
Step 1: Remove any dentures and look into a brightly lit mirror.
Step 2: Check your face and neck, including the area below your lower jaw, for any skin color changes or bulges that are only on one side. Press along the sides and front of your neck with the pads of your fingers, looking for tenderness, bumps, and swellings in your lymph nodes.
Step 3: To check for sores or changes in color on the lips and the front of the gums, pull your lower lip down and then your upper lip up. To check for lumps or changes in texture, gently press on your gums, upper and lower lips, and thumb and forefinger.
Step 4: Pull out each cheek so you can see the inside and look for red and white patches known as erythroplakia and leukoplakia, which are signs of precancerous lesions. Press around the check to look for any growths or tender spots. Hold each side between your thumb and index finger.
Step 5: Open your mouth, tilt your head back, and look for lumps by pressing on them. Examine the area closely to determine whether the color is different there.
Step 6: Pull your tongue out and look at every surface for lumps or changes in color. Feel for any changes in texture or swelling by pressing on your tongue, including the floor of your mouth underneath it.
Consult a doctor
If you notice any lump or concerning symptoms, visit a doctor. He or she may run a few tests, and in severe conditions can go for a removal surgery of any unknown mass found. All these things can be avoided if the diagnosis is done on the early stages.