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How to Spot the Early Stages of Oral Cancer

by Williams, Daily & Frazier on Jul 12, 2023 9:30:00 AM

Oral cancer is a serious yet potentially treatable illness if detected early. Being aware of the symptoms and knowing what to look for can help catch it in its earliest stages, making it easier to treat and cure. 

This blog post will guide you in identifying the early warning signs of oral cancer and provide recommendations on what to do if you are concerned or have received a diagnosis. 

We’ll also include information about risk factors that may increase your chances of developing oral cancer. 

Keep reading for essential facts about dealing with and preventing oral cancer once you're alerted to its presence in yourself or a loved one!

What to look for

The first step in detecting oral cancer is knowing what to look for. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Mouth Sores

  • Bleeding

  • Numbness

  • Difficulty Swallowing

  • Sore Throat

  • Red or White Patches 

  • Lumps or Swollen Areas

These symptoms don't necessarily indicate cancer but could indicate something is wrong. If you spot any of these warning signs, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors are associated with oral cancer, so it's a good idea to be aware of them. Common risk factors include:

• Tobacco and Alcohol Use

• Poor Oral Hygiene

• Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection

• History of Head and Neck Cancer

• Certain Dietary Habits

• Sun Exposure

Suppose you're at a higher risk for developing oral cancer. In that case, it's essential to be extra vigilant about getting regular check-ups with your doctor and keeping an eye out for any changes that could indicate the presence of the illness.

What to Do if You Are Concerned

Once you start noticing symptoms of oral cancer, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor can run tests, diagnose the condition, and provide treatment options such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Early detection is critical in treating oral cancer effectively.

It's also important to make lifestyle changes to reduce your chances of developing or spreading cancerous cells. This includes quitting smoking and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, as well as practicing good oral hygiene. Finally, eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, and sunscreen outdoors can help protect you against the sun's damaging UV rays, which are linked to certain forms of cancer.


Oral cancer is a serious illness that requires prompt medical attention if detected. Still, there are ways to reduce your chances of developing it. Regular check-ups with your doctor and awareness of any warning signs or risk factors are vital in catching the condition early on. 

Additionally, making positive lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, eating a healthy diet, and wearing sunscreen can help reduce your risk and keep you as healthy as possible.  

Taking the time to educate yourself about oral cancer, its symptoms, and potential risks can help you be more prepared if it ever does come up in your life or the life of a loved one.  

If you suspect that you or someone else may have oral cancer, don't hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor to get the help you need. 

Williams, Daily & Frazier Dental is a family and cosmetic dentist in Raleigh, NC with a dedicated team of dentists, assistants, hygienists and administrators who are enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes.
Contact Williams, Daily & Frazier at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.