The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (called mucosa)which is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign of a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathological 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 mucus alining the inside of the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
These changes may occur on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology and, curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons can evaluate and treat lesions of the mouth and jaws. If indicated, diagnostic procedures or biopsies can be performed to aid in diagnosis and subsequent treatment planning.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly, and remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us so we may help.