Oral cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that affects the mouth and/or throat. Also known as oropharyngeal cancer, it refers to cancer that can appear on the gums, lips, lining of the cheeks, tongue, salivary glands, and tonsils.
Signs and Symptoms
Mouth cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the lips, tongue and throat, as well as the salivary glands, pharynx, larynx and sinuses.
- Sores, swellings, lumps or thick patches anywhere in or around your mouth or throat
- Areas of red or white lesions in your mouth or lips or under the tongue
- The feeling of a lump or object stuck in your throat
- Numbness, pain or tenderness anywhere in your mouth, including your tongue
- Pain in one of your ears but without any loss of hearing
- Trouble moving your jaw or tongue, or problems with chewing, swallowing or speaking
- Bleeding in the area under the tongue
- Loose teeth with no apparent dental cause
Factors that may increase Cancer Risk:
The exact cause of oral cancer is unclear, however there are certain lifestyle factors that can put someone at risk for this disease.
- Tobacco of any kind – cigarettes, cigars, pipes and smokeless tobacco.
- Heavy use of alcohol.
- Poor diet and eating habits.
- Sun exposure can cause cancer on the lips.
What you should do:
You should already practice daily oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay and gum disease: brushing regularly with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily and limiting sweets.
If you are in doubt, or are experiencing one of the signs or symptoms listed above, make a booking with Dr Manu Walker at Providence Medical and Dental Belmont.