3150 North Elm Street, Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408
336-286-9897

Oral Cancer

  • Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

    | ALL blog posts
    April 26, 2021

    Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

    Oral cancer is defined as cancer of the mouth and throat. Every hour of every day, someone dies of oral cancer. It is estimated that over 54,000 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in 2021 with 43% of those patients not surviving more than five years. This shocking and concerning death rate remains high because oral cancers are often discovered and diagnosed late in their development.

    Regular oral cancer examinations performed by your dentist remain one the best methods to detect oral cancer in its early stages, but it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of oral cancer so that you can check your mouth between dental visits. 

    Tobacco use in all forms and high alcohol consumption put you at risk for oral cancer.   However, the fastest growing cause of mouth and throat cancers is actually a common virus, the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus 16 (HPV). This is the same virus commonly associated with cervical cancer. 

    Signs and symptoms of oral cancer caused by tobacco usage or excessive alcohol consumption:

    • Any sore or mouth ulcer that does not heal within two weeks.
    • Red, white, or black discoloration of soft mouth tissues.
    • An abnormality that easily bleeds when touched.
    • A lump or thickening that develops in the mouth.
    • A sore under a denture that does not heal.
    • A painless, firm, fixated lump felt on the outside of the neck, that has been there for at least two weeks.

    Signs and symptoms of oral cancer caused by HPV (Human Papillomavirus 16):

    • Hoarseness or sore throat that does not resolve within a few weeks.
    • A swollen tonsil on just one side. (Usually painless.)
    • A painless, firm, fixated lump felt on the outside of the neck, which has been there for at least two weeks.
    • A persistent cough that does not resolve after many days.
    • Difficulty swallowing; a sensation that food is getting caught in your throat.
    • An earache on one side (unilateral) that persists for more than a few days.

    All the above symptoms can be persistent and resistant to healing. Be sure to contact a dental professional if any of the listed signs or symptoms do not improve or disappear after two to three weeks. Also, call your dentist right away if you have any immediate concerns. Early detection of oral cancer is critical. To learn more about oral cancer, visit the Oral Cancer Foundation website at www.oralcancer.org.

    If you are concerned that you are experiencing oral cancer symptoms, we encourage you to call Margaret Szott DDS at 336-286-9897 to schedule an appointment for a screening. Dr. Szott is currently accepting new patients and works with all insurance providers.

     

     

Where We Are Located

3150 North Elm Street
Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408
Call us today to Schedule an Appointment:
336-286-9897