Symptoms of oral cancer can be overlooked

Christine Maddox

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 10.5 out of 100,000 adults will develop oral cancer. Yet people might not recognize the symptoms until the cancer is discovered on a routine visit to their dentist or healthcare provider.

Many people experience symptoms they blame on other conditions. Those include bleeding, a sore or lump on the tongue or inside the mouth, tongue and mouth pain, difficulty swallowing or speaking, and a lump in the neck. Oral cancer sometimes is not obvious to the patient or medical provider. Oral cancer rates are higher in men overall, and higher for Hispanic and black men. Also, oral cancer rates increase with age, peaking between 60 and 70.

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