The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathological process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplakia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
- A lump, swelling,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, face, tongue and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously 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.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examiniation monthly, and remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Don’t ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us so we may help.