What are the signs and symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of oral cancer depend on where the cancer is in the mouth, its size and how far it has spread in the body.

Common signs and symptoms include:
  • a sore (like an ulcer) or lump in the mouth that doesn’t go away

  • pain in the mouth or ear

  • white or red patches on the gums, tongue or mouth

  • unusual bleeding or numbness in the mouth

  • trouble chewing or swallowing food, or moving the tongue

  • difficulty opening the mouth

  • a lump in the neck

  • loose teeth or dentures that no longer fit.

Most often these symptoms are not from oral cancer. However, if you have any of these symptoms for more than a few weeks, talk to your doctor as early as possible. They may be able to help diagnose and treat you.