Because many mouth and throat cancer symptoms go unnoticed by patients, Midwest ENT offers screening services for all our patients.

Most oral cancers arise on the lips, tongue or the floor of the mouth. They also may occur inside your cheeks, on your gums or on the roof of your mouth. Other head and neck cancers arise from the voice box or throat. We recommend that high-risk individuals or individuals experiences possible signs or symptoms of oral, head, or neck cancer be screened. Screening tests are performed in a short office visit.

Who should get tested?

Every adult. Tobacco and alcohol users traditionally have been considered the populations at greatest risk for these cancers. However, oral cancer cases are on the rise in younger adults who do not smoke, and recent research indicates this development is due partly to the increase of the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus, a cancer-causing infection that can be transmitted by oral sex. HPV-related oral cancers are more difficult to detect because these cancers usually occur on the back of the tongue or on the tonsils, providing even more reason to get screened regularly.

What are the potential warning signs of oral cancers?

The signs and symptoms of oral cancer often go unnoticed. However, there are a few visible signs associated with these cancers that require immediate attention, including:

  • A sore in your mouth that doesn’t heal or that increases in size
  • Persistent pain in your mouth
  • Lumps or white or red patches inside your mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing or moving your tongue
  • Soreness in your throat or feeling that something is caught in your throat
  • Changes in your voice
  • A lump in your neck

If you have any of the above warning signs, we recommend scheduling an appointment immediately.