The inside of your mouth is lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration of this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathologic process, the most serious of which is oral cancer.
Changes in and around the mouth can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, as well as on the face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, it 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.
The following can be signs of the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness.
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
We recommend that you perform an oral cancer self-examination monthly. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or lesions.