How do you know when you have cancer in your mouth?

Variable symptoms. Cancer of the mouth may present as non-healing ulcer, white plaques, bleeding, a mass. Definitive diagnosis needs a biopsy and examination of the tissue by a pathologist.
Mouth cancer. A cancer in the mouth (oral cavity) can present as a bump or ulcer that is not going away. Bleeding may occur, as well as pain.The only way to know if you have cancer is to biopsy the site and look for cancer cells under the microscope.
Need a biopsy. Please have your ear nose and throat specialist or an oral surgeon look at the area and see if it needs a biopsy. It may be cancer, or a cold sore or even nothing, so please do not jump to conclusions.

Related Questions

How do you know when you have cancer in your mouth from tobacco?

Suspicious spot. The only way to know for sure that you have cancer is with a biopsy. If you have a "lesion" (which can be a pimple, ulcer, crater, redness, thickening, etc) which doesn't go away, it should be evaluated by a health care professional. Dentists and oral surgeons should be able to evaluate, but the best evaluation would come from a head and neck surgeon (ent). Risk is high if you chew or smoke. Read more...
Check your mouth. Tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco, is certainly a risk factor. Most patients present at over age 50. There may be few or no symptoms. Mouth cancers can present as non healing ulcers that can be painful. Rarely, there can be painless lymph node enlargement. Patients are staged by size of tumor and lymph node involvement. Read more...
Changes in mucosa. White patches, ulcer, indurated/hard area, bleeding, may suggest cancer. Diagnosis may require biopsy and examination of tissue by a pathologist. Read more...