Cancer is defined as the uncontainable growth of cells that attack and damage surrounding tissue. There are different forms of cancer, and they are usually categorized depending on the area of the body the cancerous cells manifest themselves in. The following are symptoms of oral cancer, how it is diagnosed and people who are at high risk of getting it.

What is Oral Cancer?

Like the name suggests, oral cancer is the type of cancer that affects the oral health of a person. It appears as a sore or growth in some parts of the mouth, i.e. the lips, floor of the mouth, tongue, soft or hard palate, throat and sinuses. As with the other types of cancers, oral cancer can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated early.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

It is best to seek medical attention at once if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Numbness or pain in your  mouth
  • Problems swallowing, chewing and swallowing
  • Bumps and lumps in the mouth
  • Changes in general tooth health
  • Sores that bleed or that refuse to heal
  • An area with the uniformity of a scab
  • Discoloration of the skin in the mouth, especially patches of white or red

How Oral Cancer is Diagnosed

Majority of cancer cases are diagnosed after a tumor is felt. In some cases, cancer is diagnosed accidentally as a result of treating or assessing other health conditions. For oral cancer to be diagnosed, a thorough physical exam as well as a comprehensive medical history check is done. For the diagnosis to be confirmed, a biopsy is usually performed. This involves removing a tissue sample from the tumor that is suspected of having cancerous cells. It is then studied in order to check for cancer cells.

Who is at Risk?

Even though oral cancer can affect anyone, there are those who are at a higher risk of acquiring the ailment. Heavy alcohol drinkers and tobacco users (both chewers and smokers) are at an increased risk of oral cancer. Those who like basking in the sun are also exposed to a high risk of the disease. Another category of people who are at increased risk are those whose families have a history of oral cancer.

Just like any other form of cancer, oral cancer could be fatal if not detected early. It is highly crucial for those who are at an increased risk of the disease to be regularly checked to ensure that they are out of danger. This will ensure that both the oral and the overall health of that person are safeguarded. For more information, visit