SEVERAL major changes in the feeling and appearance of your mouth could be a sign of either throat or mouth cancer. White or red patches on the gums, tongue or lining elsewhere in the mouth is one of the signs recognised by both the NHS and American Cancer Society (ACS).

Cancer can occur in any part of the throat or mouth and “might cause one or more” of a range of different symptoms, explains the ACS.

What are the main signs of mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer often pops up on the surface of tongues, inside cheeks or on your lips or gums.

But it can also appear on your tonsils or your windpipe – although the NHS explains these are more unlikely.

Mouth cancer, also known as oral cavity cancer, can cause painful mouth ulcers that last over a week, white or red patches, mouth numbness or even changes in speech.

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Ulcers can be triggered by many different factors, including a food allergy and feeling stressed or anxious.

The NHS’ advice with regards to ulcers is to visit your GP about an ulcer if it fits any of the following criteria:

  • lasts longer than three weeks
  • keeps coming back
  • grows bigger than usual or is near the back of your throat
  • bleeds or becomes more painful and red – this may be a sign of an infection.

What are the signs of throat cancer?

Throat cancer is a term regularly used to describe cancers found in the pharynx (throat) and larynx (voice box) although it isn’t usually used by doctors.


“Still, it’s very important to see a doctor or dentist if any of these conditions last more than two weeks so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.”

Fortunately, many cancers that strike the head and neck are preventable.

According to Cancer Research UK roughly 46 to 88 percent of head and neck cancer cases are preventable.

For example, the health body states that roughly 73 percent of larynx cancer cases are preventable.

One of the best ways to prevent either throat cancer or mouth cancer is to stop smoking.

Cancer Research UK cites that 64 percent of laryngeal cancer cases in the UK are caused by smoking.

Another way to prevent throat cancer is to “drink alcohol only in moderation”, explains Mayo Clinic.

The health body also recommends that you “choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables”.

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