Signs and Symptoms of Lip & Oral Cancers

Many of the following symptoms are not only from lip and/or oral cancer. However, if you have any of the listed symptoms, you should contact your physician or dentist so they can diagnose and treat the areas of concern as soon as possible.

Symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Sores in the mouth or on the lips that will not heal.
  • Lumps or thickening on the lips, gums, or in the mouth.
  • Red or white patches on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth that do not heal.
    • White patches are the most common and can become cancerous.
    • Mixed red and white patches are more likely than white patches to develop into cancer.
  • Bleeding in the mouth or lips.
  • Numbness of the lower lip and chin.
  • An unexpected change in voice.
  • Loose teeth.
  • Changes in mouth shape that affect dentures or mouthguards being able to fit properly in the mouth.
  • Unexplained difficulty or pain when chewing, swallowing or moving the tongue or jaw.
  • Swelling of the jaw.
  • An unexplained sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat that won't go away.
  • Lump in your neck.
  • An earache that will not go away.

Sometimes, these symptoms can be caused by something other than cancer, such as an infection. Still, it is wise to see your dentist or doctor if you have any of these problems. Early detection through proper screening can make lip cancer and oral cancer easier to treat.

Several different tests can be used to screen for lip cancer and oral cancer. Talk with your doctor or a cancer specialist at Maryland Oncology to find out which screening test(s) would benefit you the most.