What Does Mouth Cancer Look Like? 8 Features of Mouth Cancer

What Does Mouth Cancer Look Like? 8 Features of Mouth Cancer

2021-11-13 0 By Karen Smith

Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, is head and neck cancer that frequently goes under oral and oropharyngeal cancer classification. This type of cancer can appear in the mouth or the lips, including the tongue, cheeks, and gums. So, what does mouth cancer look like? Usually, cancer in the mouth appears as a bump or a spot that differs from its surrounding. If you notice unusual things in your mouth, it is important to consult your dentist. They will examine your symptoms to provide a proper diagnosis and treatment. In any case, in this article, we will explore what mouth cancer looks like in the different affected areas. So you can be aware of the warning signs you need to notice.


Oral Cancer

People who smoke or use any tobacco products are at a high risk of developing mouth cancer. This type of cancer affects any areas in the mouth or oral cavity, which includes the following:

  • lips
  • gums
  • tongue
  • insides of the cheeks
  • the roof of the mouth
  • the soft floor of the mouth under the tongue

The most typical form of cancer in the mouth is called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Squamous cells are flat cells that protect the surface of the mouth, lips, and tongue.

In addition, it is classified as oropharyngeal when cancer influences your tonsils, upper throat, or soft palate, where the upper part of the mouth meets your throat.

Furthermore, cancer happens when cancer cells start to reproduce and grow out of control. Cells anywhere in the body might become cancerous, and the development of cancerous cells might spread to different parts of the body.


What Mouth Cancers Look Like

Head and neck cancers such as this may sometimes do not cause any painful symptoms. You probably will not know until you see your dentist for regular checkups. In fact, they are usually the first to see the early stages of oral cancer. In any case, here are some types of mouth cancers and what they look like:


Lip Cancer

Most oral cancers on the lip occur on your lower lip. However, lesions can develop anywhere on your lips. Getting a lot teeth and gum careof sun rays is a danger factor for oral cancer, particularly lip cancer. Ensuring you have sun-protectant lipstick or lip balm is one way of cutting your danger. Furthermore, if you notice an unusual spot on your lip that lasts longer than two weeks, schedule an appointment at Southport Park Dental to check it out.


White Patches

White patches within your mouth that do not rub off when you clean with gauze are leukoplakia. These lesions may develop within your cheeks or the side or lower part of your tongue. Most leukoplakia is benign. However, around 25% might be cancerous or precancerous. Therefore, your dentist might need to do a biopsy to determine if it is cancerous so that you can get treatment early.


Red Patches

Oral cavity cancer can cause red spots within your mouth. Sometimes, these lesions do not have an apparent reason. These sores can be level or slightly raised and are known as erythroplakia. Though erythroplakia is less common than leukoplakia, this is likely to be cancerous. Patches of mixed white and red spots, known as erythroleukoplakia, are more highly associated with cancer. So, if you notice these symptoms, see your dentist immediately. Only treatment like radiation therapy can kill cancer cells in the mouth or other areas of the body.


Oral Lichen Planus

If you have an autoimmune disorder, you are more likely to develop oral lichen planus, a chronic inflammation condition. You might notice a white spot in your mouth that has a lacy pattern. Or, it might show up as an open sore or a swollen, red area. Sometimes, lichen planus lesions can become cancerous, so you need to see your dentist right away. They can provide medical advice and proper treatment on your condition.


Salivary Gland Tumors

In some cases, oral cancers occur in the minor salivary glands. You might see a growing lump or swelling in your upper lip, inside your cheek, the roof of your mouth, or in other areas of your mouth. However, be aware that not all tumors in the salivary gland are cancerous. Sometimes, they can indicate blocked salivary ducts or infections rather than cancer. Your doctor or dentist will need to check your condition to decide the best course of treatment.


The Roof of Mouth Cancer

An ulcer on the hard palate or the roof of your mouth is an indication of mouth cancer. The ulcer might bleed as cancer develops. Typically, your dentist can spot this problem early, so see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Tobacco use or too much alcohol can make it bound to get this kind of cancer. Other manifestations to look for include loose teeth, bad breath, speech changes, trouble swallowing, and a lump in your neck.


Oral Tongue Cancer

Mouth cancer symptoms on your tongue incorporate a pinkish-gray or red sore that bleeds if you bite or even touch it. Oral tongue cancer most often affects males aged over 40. Also, people who smoke are five times more likely than nonsmokers to foster this type of cancer.


Gum Cancer

Gum cancer can sometimes be mistaken for gum disease, a typical gum inflammation. Some indications are similar, Gum cancer check-upsuch as bleeding gums. Nonetheless, symptoms of mouth cancer on the gums additionally incorporate red, white, or dark spots on the gums, thick areas on the gums, and breaking gums. If caught early, treatment will be easier and more successful.



Mouth cancer may feature symptoms such as white or red patches in the mouth, changes in oral tissue, or trouble swallowing or chewing.

However, these symptoms are common and may sometimes indicate other conditions. If they persist and do not heal over time, they may signify a cancerous condition.

So if you notice these or have other concerning symptoms, it is essential to see a doctor immediately. Early diagnosis gives a higher possibility of successful treatment.



Head and Neck Cancers.


Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.


How Erythroplakia Relates To Oral Cancer.


Oral lichen planus: An update on pathogenesis and treatment.