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Oral Cancer Awareness, Signs and Symptoms

Updated on October 16, 2009

Oral cancer has been termed the silent killer simply because it commonly goes undetected, thus spreading throughout the body.  Of the cases that are officially diagnosed in the United States alone, one person every hour of every day dies from oral cancer.  This is equivalent to over 8,000 people each year.  Internationally, the true number is unknown as the number of cases in undeveloped countries, where medical attention is rare, leaves statistical analysis difficult. With over 34,000 cases each year in the U.S., we can only imagine the number of international cases that remain undiagnosed in third world countries where healthcare is not readily available.

Breast cancer awareness has greatly increased due to the heroic efforts of many organizations and individuals. Thus, we are seeing earlier diagnoses of the disease. However, awareness for oral cancer is low, thus the death rate percentage for those with oral cancer is greater than that of breast cancer.

Primary Resource

Special thanks to the Fight Oral Cancer Foundation for serving as the primary resource for this article. The Fight Oral Cancer Foundation is spreading awareness regarding risk, signs and symptoms of oral cancer to fight the disease before it spreads.


Oral cancer has three main causes:

- Alcohol
- Tobacco
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

There is not a cure for oral cancer. The key for life saving treatment lies in early detection. According to the Fight Oral Cancer Foundation, there are certain symptoms of oral cancer that everyone should monitor and have checked by a dentist.


If any of the below symptoms remain for over two weeks, you should consult a professional to have it examined immediately.

- A sore, irritation, lump or thick patch in your mouth, lip, or throat
- A white or red patch in your mouth
- A feeling that something is caught in your throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
- Numbness in your tongue or other areas of your mouth
- Swelling of your jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
- Pain in one ear without hearing loss


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    • Dr Moiz profile image

      Moiz Ahmad Khan 7 years ago from USA

      Lovely Work.