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 the appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs of the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) 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 chewing or swallowing
Detecting Warning Signs
These changes can be on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, or neck, and pain does not always occur. We recommend an oral cancer self-exam monthly and have suspicious lumps or sores evaluated.