‘Early signs’ of mouth cancer may be heard

Mouth cancer: What are the causes and symptoms?

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Mouth cancers occur when cells grow in an uncontrolled way inside the oral cavity or salivary glands. The disease is closely linked to risky habits like drinking alcohol and smoking, which are thought to be driving the incremental prevalence of the disease. Unfortunately, mouth cancer tends not to cause any noticeable signs in the initial stages, but a check-up may be warranted if any of the following complications occur.

According to WebMD, the disease can take approximately two years to grow, mostly affecting people after they reach the age of 55.

Although the most common presentation of the disease is mouth ulcers that do not resolve for several weeks, not all manifestations are as blatant.

“This may be subtle, but you notice a change in how your throat feels and when you swallow.”

Difficulty swallowing may easily be brushed off as a symptom of a cold, but in mouth cancer, it will likely intensify over time.

A sore throat reflecting a viral infection, on the other hand, is expected to clear within days.

Sometimes people also experience hoarseness, which leads to an urge to clear the throat more often.

“Vocal changes include hoarseness in your voice, which is a sign that something may be wrong; often it may be harder to speak in a lower voice, or you have difficulty speaking loudly,” explained Doctor Patel.

When changes in the voice occurs, it tends to be an indication that the tumour is pressing on a nerve in the chest called the laryngeal nerve

When the nerve is pinched, it causes paralysis of the nerves in the throat, which are responsible for a hoarse voice.

A person’s dental health may also drop hints.

“Having dental issues such as loose or wobbly teeth, without having any dental complications, can often be an early sign of oral cancer,” explained Doctor Patel.

“If you are noticing changes with your teeth, or loose teeth, as well as changes with your jaw and tongue you should alert your dentist right away.”

The feeling that teeth are not secure may be particularly noticeable when eating or speaking, added the expert.

There is a possibility, however, that these signs could go unnoticed due to numbness.

Numbness anywhere in the body is usually enough to cause some level of concern as it suggests the nervous system is becoming compromised.

In oral cancer, numbness tends to affect the tongue and is a common complaint in the early stages of the disease.

“A persistent and unexplained numbness or odd feeling on the lips, tongue or in the mouth could indicate mouth cancer,” explained Doctor Patel.

If symptoms occur elsewhere in the body they may be most pronounced in the ears, causing hearing issues in some cases.

“You may notice that your ears feel muffled, or you have hearing issues.

“Ear pain is also associated with early signs of mouth cancer. You may also find that you are suffering with an increased amount of headaches than what is normal.”

The most critical indications of cancer are unusual changes to the normal functioning of the body.

Anyone who develops a problem using their mouth is therefore advised to seek medical advice.

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