The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign of a pathologic process, the most serious of which is oral cancer.
The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth that don’t heal
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
At COFSC, we recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly.
We also remind patients that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. For more information on oral cancer causes, risks, and important warning signs, please visit the Oral Cancer Foundation’s website.