Open up and say "Prevention"

Spotting potential signs and/or symptoms of oral cancer

Look for signs:
  • Red or white patch

  • Sore that bleeds easily or does not heal

  • Thick or hard spot or a lump

  • Roughened or crusted area
Symptoms of oral cancer may include:
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down

Tell your dentist if you have any problems chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw.

You can get cancer anywhere in your body. Even in your mouth and throat. Most people who get oral cancer are over 40 years old and smoke or chew tobacco.* But oral cancer can strike at any age – whether you use tobacco or not.


More facts about mouth and throat cancer

  • More than 45,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed each year
  • Nearly 9,000 people in the U.S. die from these diseases each year
  • About 57% of those diagnosed survive more than five years

Open up. It’s good for your health.

Oral cancer screening is part of your regular dental check up. Your dentist will look for suspicious spots and feel for lumps in and around your mouth. This may include the roof of your mouth, inside your cheeks, under your tongue and other areas of the head and neck.


Take a closer look

The most common sign of oral cancer is a flat, painless white or red spot or a small sore that does not heal within 14 days. In many cases, having a spot or sore in your mouth is harmless. But it’s important that you tell your dentist so that he/she can decide if further investigation is needed.


Some dentists are using a newer, simple technique to help detect cancerous or precancerous cells, in which the dentist uses a small brush to gather cell samples of a suspicious area. The specimen is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. This oral brush biopsy procedure is easy and can be done in the dentist’s chair with very little or no pain. The results may help determine your need for a surgical biopsy or other follow-up.