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Is Oral Cancer Painful? 

added on: April 12, 2023

Any type of cancer diagnosis is scary. Oral cancer is no different. Oral cancer often affects the lips, tongue, and top and bottom areas of the mouth. It can also affect the tonsils and throat. During the month of April, healthcare professionals focus on raising awareness of head, neck, and oral cancers. These types of cancers can be hard to diagnose since their symptoms can often mimic those of other not-so-serious conditions. This is one reason why your dentist in Chicago encourages all patients to get checkups at least twice a year. 

Potential Symptoms of Oral Cancer

One of the things that make oral cancer so hard to detect is that the symptoms can look a lot like other oral health problems. But any concerning symptom, such as those listed below, warrants a visit to your dentist in Water Tower Place

  • Mouth Ulcer – An ulcer or sore in the mouth or on the lips that don’t go away on its own
  • Mouth Pain – Another common symptom of oral cancer is pain in the mouth 
  • Lumps – Abnormal lumps or bumps on the tongue, lips, or around the mouth
  • White Spots – White or red spots, or mixed red and white spots, in the mouth
  • Pain – Oral cancer can cause pain in the ears, throat, jaw, or when swallowing
  • Swelling – Oral cancers can cause swollen lymph nodes, salivary glands, or jaw

How To Lower Your Risk of Oral Cancer

While anyone can get oral cancer, there are several things you can do to lower your risk. 

  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Reduce sun exposure
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Brush and floss every day 
  • See your dentist in Chicago twice a year

Early Signs of Oral Cancer

Even if you brush and floss regularly and see your dentist at least every six months, you should still keep an eye out for signs of dental problems, including oral cancer. Luckily, dental professionals around the world make it easier to do so. Go to Check Your Mouth to learn more about how you can be more proactive about protecting yourself against oral cancer. 

Oral cancer can be tricky because it’s not always obvious or painful. But you should continue, or start, to see your dentist on the Magnificent Mile regularly whether you currently have pain or not. Regular checkups are one of the best ways to catch and successfully treat a problem early, including cancer. 

To learn more about Oral Cancer Awareness Month or oral cancer in general, go to