If you think you may be at risk for oral cancer, be on the lookout for common oral cancer symptoms. Usually in their early stages, different types of oral cancer are painless or may resemble normal mouth pains. Because of this one of the biggest dangers of oral cancer is the fact that it often goes unnoticed and is not diagnosed until it has advanced and often spread to other areas of the body. Deaths from oral cancer could be significantly reduced if patients were more aware of possible symptoms, thus leading to earlier detection of oral cancer. If you exhibit any oral cancer symptoms it is wise to get them checked out as soon as possible. It is important to be aware of your body, including your mouth and other parts. If you experience any significant changes or issues that persist for a period of time talk to a doctor.

What are some common oral cancer symptoms?

  • Sores in the throat and mouth that bleed easily and do no heal
  • Red or white patches on the mouth, tongue or throat
  • Constant pain in the mouth
  • Lumps or masses in the mouth, throat or tongue
  • Constant ear pain
  • Mass in the neck
  • Coughing up blood
  • Hoarseness or difficulty talking
  • Difficulties chewing or swallowing
  • Difficulties moving your tongue or jaw
  • Any significant changes in the mouth or throat

Below are just a few images of common oral cancer symptoms. If you want to see more oral cancer pictures check out our Oral Cancer Pictures gallery.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

White patch on the floor of the mouth of a smoker from The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Web site (

Oral Cancer Symptoms

White patch with nodules in mouth from The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Web site (

Oral Cancer Symptoms

White patch on lips from The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Web site (

Oral Cancer Symptoms

White patch on inside of mouth from The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Web site (

I have some of the oral cancer symptoms. So what do I do now?

Most of the time these symptoms are not a result of oral cancer, but if any of the above oral cancer symptoms persist for more than a few weeks it is wise to seek medical attention. A doctor or dentist can check for any abnormalities through a visual inspection and can refer you to a specialist if more attention in needed. Remember that the earlier you catch a cancerous spot the easier it is to treat. So even if you have a slight suspicion something may be wrong it is best to have it diagnosed by a doctor or dentist.

Visit our Mouth Cancer Symptoms page for more information on specific tests a doctor or dentist will perform to test for, diagnose and stage oral cancer.

Do I need a second opinion about my oral cancer diagnosis?

It is recommended (and sometimes even required by insurance companies) that you get a second opinion on your diagnosis. You can ask your doctor for recommendations or research other hospitals or doctors that specialize in oral cancer. This will help you get even more information on your diagnosis and may even open up knew options on ways to treat your oral cancer. A second opinion will often give you confidence in knowing that you have explored multiple options and made a wise choice in how to best treat it.

Don’t have a dentist?

Here is a helpful link to find a dentist close to you.

ADA Find a Dentist

Want more information on oral cancer and oral cancer symptoms?

Visit our other pages dedicated to various aspects or oral cancer. These include:

We also recommend visiting our pages that focus on the different locations oral cancer can occur. These include:


Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer. American Cancer Society. Accessed January 4, 2012.

What you need to know about oral cancer. National Cancer Institute. Accessed January 8, 2012.


  1. johnny
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    For a while i thought i have oral cancer i went to the doctor and nose and throat speacialist about my mouth it looks dry but with no problem however ill be going t the doctor again in aa few more days

    • gail1101
      Posted July 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink


      Glad it turned out negative. You should keep an eye on though. Oral cancer is sometimes hard to diagnose.

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