The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of mucosa (skin, or tissue) that is smooth and coral pink in colour. Any alteration in this appearance may be a warning sign of an underlying pathologic process. The most serious of these is oral cancer.
The following may be signs of a pathologic lesion developing, including a cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplakia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- A thickening of the mucosa (skin) lining the inside of the mouth, or development of a lump
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness and/or difficulty in chewing or swallowing
These changes may be detected on the face and/or neck, the lips, tongue, inside of the cheeks, palate (roof of the mouth) and the gum tissue around the teeth. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, pain is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause may also be at risk for oral cancer.
We recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly. As the mouth is one of the body’s most important warning systems, please do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us at (250) 614-1828 should you have any questions or concerns.