Understanding Oral Cancer

Understanding Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a serious issue; everyone must understand the risk factors, symptoms, and treatments associated with this potentially fatal disease. Oral cancer accounts for more than 50,000 annual diagnoses in the US alone. 

Unfortunately, while many people are familiar with some of the basics of oral cancer, they may not know all the information available on detecting it through oral cancer screening in its early stages. 

First signs of mouth cancer: 

Early signs of oral cancer can include:

  • A persistent sore throat.
  • Unexplained lumps or bumps inside the mouth.
  • White patches on the gums or tongue.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.

One must report any changes inside the mouth to a doctor immediately for evaluation.

What does mouth cancer do?

Mouth cancer can cause damage to the tissues, muscles, and other organs in the mouth. It is often a lump or sore that does not go away. These lumps can be cancerous or non-cancerous, but it’s important to have them checked out by a doctor if they persist.

How do you get mouth cancer?

While there is no single cause of oral cancer, certain lifestyle factors can increase your risk. For example, tobacco use in any form (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, and chewing tobacco) is a major risk factor. 

Alcohol consumption can also increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Other risk factors include exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV) and excessive sun exposure.

Difference between mouth ulcer and cancer: 

Mouth ulcers are prevalent and can be due to anything from a cut in the mouth or irritation from braces to an infection. While mouth ulcers can be uncomfortable and painful, they generally do not have any relation to cancer. 

On the other hand, oral cancer is much more severe and can be life-threatening if not treated properly. 

Are mouth ulcers cancerous?

Although most mouth ulcers are not cancerous, they can be an early warning sign that something is wrong. If a mouth ulcer does not heal within a few weeks, it is important to consult a doctor or dentist as soon as possible.

Lip cancer or cold sore: 

Cold sores, called fever blisters or herpes simplex, can signify oral cancer. These usually appear as small, red bumps on the lips or inside the mouth. While other things, including a simple cold sore virus, could also signify a more serious condition. 

So if you notice any unusual lumps or bumps on your lips that don’t go away after several days, it’s important to see a doctor. 

Cancer vs. canker sore: 

People often confuse canker sores with cancer, which are small white or yellow lesions that sometimes form inside the mouth. It is important to recognize that canker sores are not cancerous and do not need to be treated. 

However, one should ensure that a doctor checks it if they become substantial, infected, or do not heal within three weeks. 

Are mouth sores a sign of cancer?

No, not all mouth sores are a sign of cancer. Some may be due to a common cold or other viral infection and should clear up within a couple of weeks with no further treatment. However, persistent or recurring mouth sores can indicate oral cancer and should be checked by a doctor.

What Causes Oral Cancer? 

The main cause of oral cancer is excessive UV radiation from sunlight or tanning beds. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes can also increase your risk, as can long-term alcohol abuse. 

Additionally, individuals with a weakened immune system—such as those undergoing chemotherapy—are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer. 

How Can I Detect Oral Cancer Early? 

Regular dental checkups are the most effective way to detect it in its earliest stages. During these visits, your dentist will examine your mouth for any signs of tumors or other abnormalities. 

They may also take swabs of your mouth for further testing if necessary. Contact a dentist in Irving TX, immediately for further evaluation if you notice any unusual changes in your mouth or throat—such as unexplained lumps or sores. 

Treatment Options For Oral Cancer 

If a diagnosis of oral cancer after oral cancer screening is complete, several treatment options are available depending on the severity of the condition. Surgery remains one of the most common treatments and can involve removing a portion or all of an affected area. 

Radiation therapy is another option that uses high-energy rays to kill off cancer cells without damaging nearby tissue. In some cases, chemotherapy and other treatments can be useful in reducing tumor size before surgery or radiation therapy.  


Oral cancer is a serious issue affecting thousands yearly in the US alone. Knowing what causes it and how it can be detected early is key to ensuring successful treatment outcomes. 

Regular dental checkups are essential for detecting any potential signs or symptoms before they become more serious, so if you notice anything unusual when examining your mouth, contact the dentist in Irving TX, immediately for further evaluation and advice on possible treatment options. 

The earlier you catch it and start treatment, the better your chance of beating this potentially deadly disease!

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