Mouth cancer is a type of oral cancer that affects all parts of the mouth, including the gums, lips, and tongue. Some early symptoms are persistent pain that feels like a toothache, and patients sometimes report feeling as if they are suffering from a lingering cold. Unfortunately, many people ignore the initial symptoms because they're easy to confuse with other conditions — and much of the time, the symptoms listed earlier have other underlying causes, which clouds the issue even further.
Nonetheless, practicing vigilance when it comes to signs of cancer saves lives. Possible symptoms include swelling, sores, rough patches, red and/or white lesions in the mouth or on the lips, and feelings of numbness or tenderness anywhere inside the mouth. Some mouth cancer patients report experiencing a sore throat that won't go away, persistent pain in one of their ears, the sensation of something being stuck in their throat, and teeth that came lose for no apparent reason. Excessive exposure to the sun over a period of time, the presence of human papillomavirus, and a weakened immune system also heighten the chances of developing mouth cancer.