The term cancer is used to define abnormal growth of cells that cause damage or invade surrounding tissue. Oral cancer starts as a mouth sore or growth that stays in place for long periods of time. Oral cancer encompasses cancer of the cheeks, tongue, lips, hard palate, soft palate, the floor of the mouth, pharynx, and sinuses.
It can be a serious threat to your life if it isn’t diagnosed in the early stages and treated immediately. The first signs that you’ll notice when oral cancer starts to develop are hard to diagnose as they can also be caused by other problems that are less severe.
These involve toothaches and colds. That said, if you notice your symptoms lingering for weeks or even months, you should consult with your doctor so that they can check whether or not you have oral cancer and administer proper treatment if you do have it.
1. Mouth sores
Most cases of oral cancer involve the development of mouth sores. They often appear benign and look like a virus-induced abscess or canker sore. That said, those types of sores often resolve themselves after a week or two with little to no treatment.
This is why you should always get yourself checked out if you notice your sores lingering for more than two weeks, and perhaps even multiple months. Another way to tell if a sore is cancerous is by taking note of the texture. You’ll find that most sores that are soft and thin are abscess ulcers whereas oral tumors caused by oral cancers are hard and thick.
Furthermore, canker sores and ulcers don’t bleed while tumors do. If you notice any sores on your mouth, especially ones that linger, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor or dentist and get yourself checked out. The sooner you get to the bottom of the problem, the sooner you can treat it.