Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Signs and symptoms of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer

Possible signs and symptoms of these cancers can include:

  • A sore in the mouth that does not heal (most common symptom)
  • Pain in the mouth that doesn’t go away (also very common)
  • 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 a feeling that something is caught in the throat that doesn’t go away
  • Trouble chewing or swallowing
  • Trouble moving the jaw or tongue
  • Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth
  • Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
  • Loosening of the teeth or pain around the teeth or jaw
  • Voice changes
  • A lump or mass in the neck
  • Weight loss
  • Constant bad breath

Many of these signs and symptoms can also be caused by things other than cancer, or even by other cancers. Still, it is very important to see a doctor or dentist if any of these conditions lasts more than 2 weeks so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.


Last Medical Review: 07/16/2014
Last Revised: 07/17/2014