November 15, 2022


By Marisa Battrick

In the United States, mouth cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer, although it's much less common in the UK. It's also one of the deadliest cancers, with a five-year survival rate of only 50 percent. That's why it's so important to be aware of the symptoms of mouth cancer, and to see a doctor if you experience any of them.

It can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, and roof of the mouth. 


Causes Of Mouth Cancer

There are many different causes of mouth cancer, and it can be difficult to know if you're at risk. But if you are a smoker or a heavy drinker then you may be more at risk. Cancers of the lip are more commonly associated with UV exposure. Other risk factors include human papillomavirus (HPV), epstein-barr virus (EBV), family history of mouth cancers,  and poor oral hygiene and gum disease. 


Symptoms of Mouth Cancer

Some common symptoms include:

- Painful mouth ulcers that don't heal within a few weeks

- Difficulty chewing or swallowing

- Unexplained lumps in your mouth or neck that won't go away

- White or red patches on your tongue or inside your mouth.

- Loose teeth or sockets that don't heal after extractions

- Unexplained, persistent numbness or odd feeling on your lips or tongue

If you have any of these symptoms, please see a doctor right away! Early diagnosis is key in beating mouth cancer.


How to Check for Mouth Cancer


Feel for lumps, swellings or ulcers along the floor of your mouth and underside of your tongue by gently pressing with your finger.


Tilt your head back and look in your mouth for changes in colour or ulcers, and use your finger to check for changes in texture. 


If you notice anything unusual then make a note of it. If you've recently had a sore throat or cold, ulcers or swollen glands, or bitten or scolded your mouth then these should heal within 3 weeks. If you have any concerns then visit your dentist or doctor for advice. 

It is recommended that anyone over the age of 16 should have a professional examination by a dentist every year.  


Mouth cancer is a serious disease that often goes undetected until it has progressed to a later stage. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the risks, symptoms and how to check for mouth cancer. By being proactive about your health, you can help reduce your risk of developing this deadly disease. If you have any concerns, please see your doctor right away. Early detection is key in treating mouth cancer successfully.

It is so important we raise awareness, so share this with your friends and family, and make sure they are checking themselves for any symptoms.