According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, about 54,000 Americans will receive a diagnosis of oral or oropharyngeal cancer each year. Of those diagnosed, only half will survive for another five years. Unfortunately, about 10,850 deaths occur yearly from oral cancer. What can help prevent these deaths? Early detection and treatment. By increasing awareness regarding oral cancer signs, people can seek an assessment, receive a diagnosis, and obtain treatment before cancer progresses.
The signs of oral cancer often look like typical dental problems, like gingivitis or other common oral issues. It’s vital to understand when to seek a physician’s assessment to diagnose these symptoms, find the root cause, and take action. The following are 15 signs of oral cancer to be on the lookout for.
15. Mouth Sores
Most mouth sores occur due to small abrasions, a minor virus, or a canker sore. These sores typically resolve within a week to 10 days and, for the most part, are harmless. If a sore keeps recurring or fails to heal within two weeks, it could indicate something more serious. When a sore that doesn’t heal also feels hard to the touch and bleeds frequently, it might help to consult with a physician.
14. Tongue Pain
Because the tongue contains numerous nerves for tasting and eating, it can be extra sensitive to pain. A small growth or cut on the tongue can feel extremely painful, even when it’s too small to see. Persistent pain on the tongue can indicate oral cancer and should be followed up by a physician.