An annual screening for oral cancer is important, it is possible that you will notice some change in your mouth or throat that needs examination between your annual screenings. You are the most important factor in an early diagnosis. You should always contact your doctor or dentist immediately if you notice the following symptoms in yourself or a loved one:
- A sore or lesion in the mouth that does not heal within two weeks.
- A lump or thickening in the cheek.
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
- Difficulty 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.
These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, but they also indicate the possible presence of oral cancer. Only a professional will be able to tell you definitively. Some think that a visit to their medical doctor is the appropriate course of action. But remember that dentists are trained in this simple, quick screening, which involves the examination of the oral cavity as a whole and not just your teeth.