The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
Reddish patches (erythroplakia) 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
These changes can be detected 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, may not often be 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. 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.
Our specialists can perform advanced diagnostic tests to determine if there is cause for concern, but remember, the best defense for serious illness is early detection.