What Are the Signs of oral cancer? Our Dentist in Plymouth explains


Cancer of any type is a really scary thought, and it can be easy for us to either miss early symptoms or try and avoid the topic in the hope that any symptoms we are experiencing will go away on their own. However, the quicker you get to the bottom of what’s changed in your oral health, the better, and we at Meavy Way Dental Practice are proud to offer oral cancer screenings to all our patients. We want to make it clear that if you are experiencing any changes in your oral health, you should book an appointment to see our dentist in Plymouth as soon as possible. But in the meantime, here are some things to keep an eye on.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer can be diagnosed when tumours begin to grow in the mouth. These tumours are likely to form on the surface of the tongue, on the roof of the mouth or inside the cheeks, gums or lips. Cancer can also begin to develop in the tonsils and in the glands that make saliva, but these types of cancers are less common.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer

Some of the symptoms listed could be associated with other dental issues, so it’s important not to worry about these until you’ve been properly checked by our dentist in Plymouth.

Common symptoms include mouth ulcers (these tend to be painful and won’t heal for weeks), unexplained lumps in the mouth or neck that don’t reduce, loosening teeth, numbness in the tongue or lips, red or white patches on the lining of the tongue or mouth or changes in your speech.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see our dentist in Plymouth straight away, and make sure you explain your symptoms to our receptionist so that we can get you in as soon as possible.

What we do at an oral cancer screening

FIRST – we will run a detailed check of your oral health and medical history to see whether there could be any risk factors related to any previous health issues.

SECOND – we will perform a detailed assessment of the outside of your mouth, neck and head through physical and visual examination.

THIRD – we then look inside your mouth to see whether any abnormalities are showing on your cheeks or tongue.

FOURTH – we might use a handheld tool to help us further assess any lumps you’ve developed.

FIFTH – any inconclusive findings will result in us referring you to a specialist.

Why is screening important?

The more we normalise the dialogue around cancer, the better; just as women have a yearly smear test and men attend regular prostate examinations, oral cancer screenings should be a regular occurrence for better long-term health. At Meavy Way Dental Practice, we recommend coming for a cancer screening once a year just to keep on top of any new concerns. Like all medical conditions, the sooner oral cancer is caught, the higher the chance is for a full recovery.