Watch for these subtle signs of oral cancer

Watch out for symptoms of oral cancer
Published: Apr. 15, 2016 at 2:38 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 15, 2016 at 2:46 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Each year, there are more than 30,000 new cases of oral cancer, and 8,000 deaths.

The most common symptom is a sore in the mouth that just doesn't go away for six weeks.

Dr. Joehassin Cordero, an ear, nose and throat specialist and Texas Tech physician, says that's a red flag and a good reason to get checked.

But, he says there are other subtle clues that could also signal oral cancer like persistent bad breath.

He explains, "It's very common that we see people that have a tonsular cancer that we can actually smell the cancer. So they have a very persistent, very strong, kind of a sweet smell to it. And that's a sign of cancer."

He says don't try to cover it up with mouthwash because too much mouthwash has also been linked to oral cancer, something Dr. Cordero says he has seen even in a teenager.

"My youngest patient was 17 years old who after using mouthwash up to eight times a day developed a mouth cancer."

He says the problem is linked to the high alcohol content in mouthwashes. He says the abundance of mouthwash presents a chronic inflammation that continues to erode tissue leading to cancer.

Here's a full list of symptoms that should prompt you to see a doctor and check for oral cancer:

  • Persistent mouth sore that continues for 6 weeks
  • Persistent mouth pain
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth
  • A sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat that does not go away
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • Numbness of the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth
  • Jaw swelling that makes dentures hurt or fit poorly
  • Loosening of the teeth
  • Pain in the teeth or jaw
  • Voice change that is unexplained for weeks
  • A lump in the neck
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent bad breath

Copyright 2016 KCBD. All rights reserved.