Mouth cancer symptoms: Three common signs of the disease to watch for – including an ulcer

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Mouth cancer symptoms: Three common signs of the disease to watch for


Mouth cancer is the fourteenth most common cancer in the UK with around 7,300 people diagnosed with the disease every year.

A number of things can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer including smoking and drinking alcohol.

But whether or not you drink and smoke heavily it’s important to recognise all the symptoms.

There are three more common symptoms of mouth cancer, according to the NHS.

These include sore mouth ulcers that don’t heal within several weeks, unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth that don’t go away, and unexplained, persistent lumps in the lymph glands in the neck that don’t go away.

Other symptoms may include pain or difficult when swallowing, changes in your voice or speech problems, unexplained weight loss, bleeding or numbness in the mouth, and a tooth, or teeth, that becomes loose for no obvious reason, or a tooth socket that doesn’t heal.

Difficulty moving your jaw, and red or white patches on the lining of your mouth can also be indicators – these are common and are very rarely cancerous, but they can sometimes turn into cancer, so it’s worth seeing a specialist if you have them.

The health body adds: “Many of the symptoms listed above can be caused by less serious conditions, such as minor infections.

“However, it’s strongly recommended that you visit your GP or dentist if any of the above symptoms have lasted longer than three weeks.

“It’s particularly important to seek medical advice if you drink or smoke regularly.”

Persistent lumps in the neck is also a symptom of throat cancer.

Throat cancer, also known as laryngeal cancer, tends to be more common in people over the age of 60.

But the important thing to note about this type of cancer, is the symptoms may be linked to those of the common cold.

So how can you differentiate between the two? The NHS lists six symptoms of the disease. These include: A change in your voice, such as sounding hoarse, pain when swallowing or difficulty swallowing, a lump or swelling in your neck, a long-lasting cough, a persistent sore throat or earache, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing.

The NHS says some people may also experience other symptoms, such as bad breath, breathlessness, a high-pitched wheezing noise when breathing, unexplained weight loss, or fatigue (extreme tiredness).

The exact cause of laryngeal cancer is not known, but there are lifestyle factors that can put you at increased risk of developing the disease.

These are smoking tobacco, regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol, having a family history of head and neck cancer, having an unhealthy diet, and exposure to certain chemicals and substances, such as asbestos and coal dust.

The NHS advises: “By adopting a healthy lifestyle, including avoiding alcohol and tobacco, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing laryngeal cancer.”

It adds you should visit your GP if you have had any of the main symptoms for more than three weeks.

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