December07, 2022

Abstract Volume: 1 Issue: 3 ISSN:

Early signs & symptoms of Oral cancer

Dr. Harshita Patel


*Corresponding Author: Dr. Harshita Patel, Pt. Deendayal Upadhayay memorial, health sciences and Ayush University of Chhattisgarh, India.


Received Date:  October 21, 2020

Publication Date:  November 01, 2020

Early signs & symptoms of Oral cancer

The overall 5-year survival rate of oral and oropharyngeal cancers is 65%. 5-year survival rate provides you data about what percentage of people live at least 5years after the detection of cancer. The 5-year survival rate of oral and oropharyngeal cancer rises to 84% when detected early. Here lies the importance of routine check-ups, because otherwise, it may remain undetected for a long time.

But don’t panic right away, many oral lesions can be precancerous or maybe the warning signs of oral cancer, but that does not mean every lesion is so.

 The following description may help you differentiate: -

 1. A lip sore:-

-A lip sore or a mouth ulcer that doesn’t show signs of healing for more than 3 weeks

-Most patients with mouth cancer have this symptom

-But rarely it is an initial symptom of oral cancer

2. A white or reddish patch:-

-White or reddish patches anywhere inside the mouth, which are not painful, swollen, or bleeding.

-They are not caused due to cancer but are precancerous lesions, which if left untreated may convert into cancer

3. Unexplained persistent growth or lump in your mouth or the neck:-

A large, painless lump, especially the one that is continuously growing in size or has been there for more than 2 weeks, might be a warning sign of cancer.But lumps in the neck don’t necessarily mean cancer. Lumps may be caused due to swollen lymph nodes which can be caused by the following:-

-By common infections such as cold, sore throat, etc

-Ear infection

The lymph nodes which are swollen due to infection return to their normal size after the infection is treated.

4. Painful or difficult swallowing, speaking or chewing

Difficulty in swallowing is a common symptom of head and neck cancer. Difficulty in chewing is especially a sign of oral or oropharyngeal cancers. Difficulty in swallowing or chewing can also be the side-effect of the treatment of such cancers.

 Other causes of difficulty in swallowing include:-

-any disease where the nervous system is affected, such as a stroke, head injury, or dementia

-gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) – a condition in which gastric acid leaks back up into the food pipe.

5. Difficulty moving your jaw

 Difficulty in moving the jaw is mostly accompanied by difficulty in speech and swallowing.

6. Loosening of one or more teeth without reason

The sudden displacement of the tooth from its position or sudden loosening of the teeth may be caused by an underlying tumour.

7. Hoarseness of voice:-

 Hoarseness of voice for more than 3 weeks can be a sign of laryngeal cancer.

 But there can be other common causes of hoarseness in the voice like:-

-Viral/bacterial laryngitis

-Voice abuse- usually in persons who speak a lot

-Smoke exposure

-Gastroesophageal reflux- a condition where gastric acid comes up to the food pipe and irritates the vocal cords.

8. Prolonged numbness or pain in any area of the mouth:-

This happens when the cancer cells have caused damage to the nerves and blood vessels of the mouth.

 Other causes of numbness of the mouth may include:-

-Vitamin deficiency

-Low blood sugar

-Allergic reaction

-Burning mouth syndrome

-Paraesthesia after dental treatment- because of the involvement of inferior alveolar nerve during dental treatment

-Seizures etc

9. Swelling of the jaw:-

 This may indicate a tumour in the jaw bone

10. Bleeding in the mouth:-

This is one of the symptoms for oral cancer.

11. Ear pain:-

 Ear problem is a less common symptom of oral cancer, its symptoms are as follows:-

-Radiating ear ache up to the jaw and cheeks

-Ear gives a feeling of fullness

-Ringing in the ear

Who is at more risk?

-Who is older than 55?

-who use tobacco of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, etc?

-Who consume alcohol in excess- People who have more than 3.5 alcoholic drinks per day increase their risk of oral cavity cancers two to three times, according to the National Institutes of Health?

-If you smoke along with drinking alcohol it increases the risk multiple times.

-Infected by a sexually transmitted virus called human papillomavirus (HPV)

-Who has an immune system that has been weakened by some drugs?

-Suffer from skin diseases like lichen planus, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), or some inherited blood conditions. 


Volume 1 Issue 3 November 2020

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