What are the symptoms of oral cavity cancer?

Oral cavity cancer symptoms often can vary, so if you have any symptoms, especially those that last longer than two weeks, it is important to see your doctor. Having symptoms does not necessarily mean you have oral cavity cancer, but if you are diagnosed with the disease and it is detected early, it is often highly treatable.

Oral cancer symptoms aren’t always obvious, but they can include:

  • White or red patches on lips, gums, tongue or lining of the mouth
  • A lump inside the mouth or on the neck
  • Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking
  • Hoarseness
  • Mouth numbness or pain
  • Jaw swelling
  • Teeth loosening
  • Difficulty wearing dentures
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • A sore on the lip or in the mouth that does not go away
  • A persistent earache

If you experience any of these symptoms, especially for more than a couple of weeks, talk with your doctor about any concerns you might have.

Miami Cancer Institute’s oral cavity cancer specialists and subspecialists combine world-recognized medical expertise, innovation and compassionate care to detect and treat your specific cancer, creating precise, personalized treatment plans that incorporate groundbreaking discoveries, collaborations with other world-renowned cancer researchers and the best individualized treatment just for you.

How is oral cavity cancer diagnosed?

At Miami Cancer Institute, our nationally recognized oral cavity cancer specialists and subspecialists work together across many medical disciplines (known as a multidisciplinary approach) to provide you with the most advanced, comprehensive diagnostics available today – all under one roof and all conveniently located in South Florida.

Our expert multidisciplinary team begins with determining your complete family history and providing you with a thorough physical examination. This includes blood tests and state-of-the-art advanced imaging and laboratory tests, all with a compassionate, patient-centered focus.

When you’re diagnosed with oral cavity cancer at the Cancer Institute, our expert healthcare team uses a variety of personalized tests depending on what is right for you. This can include:

  • Biopsy to examine tumor tissues to determine the specific kind of cancer present
  • Imaging studies that may include CT (Computed Tomography), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans
  • Endoscopy to view the upper airways and inside the nostrils, throat and vocal cords

If you experience any of these symptoms, especially for more than a couple of weeks, talk with your doctor about any concerns you might have.

Patient Support Services

Patient Support Services

Designed for Healing, Wellness and Recovery

Taking care of the whole patient is an important component of providing personalized cancer care. Integrated into the fabric of the Miami Cancer Institute, the Cancer Patient Support Center addresses the psychological, physical, social and spiritual needs of our patients during cancer treatment and beyond.

Have questions? We're here to help.