The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin called mucosa, that feels smooth to the touch and coral pink in color. If you notice any distinct changes in this appearance it could be indicative of a pathologic problem that needs immediate attention. The most serious of these is oral cancer.
The following symptoms can be warning signs at the beginning of a cancerous growth or a pathologic process:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
- A sore that does not heal and bleeds easily.
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
- Chronic hoarseness or sore throat.
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
These changes can be detected on the cheeks, lips, palate and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain is not always experienced with pathology, and ironically, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may be at risk for oral cancer.
We recommend performing a regular oral cancer self-examination monthly and remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. It’s important to not ignore any suspicious lumps or sores.
If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact us so we may help.