The inside of our mouth is lined with a special type of skin called mucosa. This skin is usually smooth and pink in color. Any condition that is a deviation from the normal appearance could be a warning sign for disease or a pathological process. Oral cancer is usually the most serious of these oral diseases.

The following can be signs to look for at the beginning of a disease process or cancerous growth:

  • Red or white areas or patches on the mouth mucosa (called erythroplasia or leukoplakia)
  • Chronic sore throat or changes in speech
  • Swallowing or chewing difficulties
  • Slowly healing or non-healing sores
  • Areas that bleed easily
  • Lumps, bumps or thickening of the lining (mucosa) inside the mouth

The above changes can be seen anywhere in and about the mouth. Look on the lips, cheeks, roof of the mouth, gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck. Pain does not necessarily occur with pathology and is not often connected with oral cancer in its early stages. Any patient with face or mouth pain without an obvious cause may be at risk for oral cancer.

We would recommend patients perform a self-examination regularly (at least monthly) because your mouth is one of the body’s early warning systems. Do not ignore lumps or sores.

If you have any questions and/or concerns or are suspicious about any disease areas or have any of the above symptoms in the mouth, please do not hesitate to contact South Calgary Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery so we may be of some assistance to you.