Mouth cancer symptoms can sometimes be difficult to spot and easily mistaken for a different condition.
Approximately 7,000 people are diagnosed with the cancer every year in the UK, according to experts.
The two “leading” causes of the condition are smoking and drinking alcohol, said the NHS.
“Both tobacco and alcohol are carcinogenic, which means they contain chemicals that can damage the DBA in cells and lead to cancer,” the NHS reports.
Watch out for these five symptoms of the condition described by surgeons Alistair Fry and Luke Cascarini from London Bridge Hospital.
Lumps in the mouth and neck
“The most common symptoms of mouth cancer that we tend to see are lumps in the mouth that don’t go away,” said Fry.
“Lumps in the neck where your lymph glands are situated are also common symptoms,” he continued.
There are several lymph nodes in the neck.
To check them, Plymouth Hospital recommended moving your fingers down from the front of the ear in a “gentle circular motion”.
Then, people checking should carry on gradually moving down until the collar bone is reached.
These are also considered a “common symptom” by Surgeon Fry.
“Mouth ulcers that persist and don’t heal within two to three weeks,” he said could also be a warning sign.
Red or white mouth patches
These can be identified by checking the inside of the mouth in a mirror.
Describing the less common symptoms of the cancer, the surgeons said: “Some people who have been diagnosed with mouth cancer have also experienced red or white patches on the lining of their mouth.
“These patches are quite common and sometimes cancerous,” he continued, “but they can also turn into cancer overtime, so it’s definitely worth seeing a specialist if you have them just to be on the safe side.”
Struggling to take in food could also be a warning sign, said Mr Fry.
“Other symptoms may include pain or difficulty when swallowing,” he said, “also known as dysphagia.”
Fry added a numb feeling in the face, lips or mouth could also be a warning sign.
The NHS described this symptom online as “bleeding or numbness in the mouth”.
“Some of these symptoms can also be caused by less serious health conditions, such as dental infections,” said Surgeon Cascarini, “however, I would always recommend that you visit your GP, dentist or a local urgent care centre if you notice anything unusual, for a quick examination.”
Other symptoms of mouth cancer could include unexplained weight loss, difficulties moving your jaw, voice changes or teeth becoming loose.