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What are the symptoms of mouth cancer?

What are the symptoms of mouth cancer?

22 April 2021

Thank you for your question.

The most common mouth cancer symptoms are a sore that won’t heal or prolonged pain and discomfort in the mouth.

A non healing area of skin that doesn’t heal (ulcer) and lasts more than six weeks can be a sign of malignant changes. An abnormal looking white or red patch in the mouth may also indicate pre cancerous or cancerous changes.

Other signs include:

  • Difficulty in swallowing where food can feel stuck in the throat or there is pain or burning when chewing food. Bear in mind there are other non cancerous causes of difficulty in swallowing but if this symptom does present it is sensible to see a doctor
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lumps in the neck- caused by a lymph node swelling in response to the malignant tissue
  • A lump in the mouth or throat
  • Difficulty moving the jaws
  • A lump or thickening of the lip
  • Loose teeth with no apparent reason such as periodontitis.

As you can see the list is quite extensive and the symptoms may be caused by a variety of issues and not just cancer. However, if any of these symptoms are present then it is advisable to speak to either your GP or your dentist, who will be able to examine your mouth thoroughly and if necessary refer you on to a specialist for further investigation.

You can read more about the symptoms of mouth cancer and its treatment here:

Cancer of the mouth - NHS Factsheet

We hope this information will be of use and please don’t hesitate to contact us should you require any further information.

Answered by the Health at Hand team.

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