Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter

What are the symptoms of mouth cancer?

This page is about the symptoms of mouth cancer. There is information about


The most common symptoms of mouth cancer

The most common symptoms of mouth cancer are

  • A sore or ulcer in the mouth that does not heal
  • Discomfort or pain in the mouth that doesn't go away

Other symptoms

Mouth cancer can also cause

  • White patches anywhere in your mouth (leukoplakia)
  • Red patches anywhere in your mouth (erythroplakia)
  • A lump on the lip, tongue or in the mouth or throat
  • Unusual bleeding or numbness in the mouth
  • Pain when chewing or swallowing
  • A feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • Unusual bleeding or numbness in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Dentures feeling uncomfortable and not fitting properly
  • A change in your voice
  • Speech problems
  • Weight loss
  • A lump in the neck

White or red patches can be signs of precancerous changes. Precancerous cells are abnormal, but they are not yet cancer. If left untreated, precancerous changes can go on to develop into cancer. But if you get the condition treated, you can prevent a cancer from developing.


Screening for mouth cancer

There is no official screening programme, but checking for mouth cancer should be part of your 6 monthly routine dental check up. You can ask your dentist to do this next time you go for an appointment.

We have detailed information about mouth cancer.

Rate this page:
Submit rating


Rated 4 out of 5 based on 68 votes
Rate this page
Rate this page for no comments box
Please enter feedback to continue submitting
Send feedback
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team

No Error

Updated: 28 March 2013