Symptoms of mouth cancer
Main symptoms of mouth cancer
Symptoms of mouth cancer can affect any part of your mouth including the gums, tongue, inside the cheeks, or lips.
Symptoms can include:
- a mouth ulcer in your mouth that lasts more than 3 weeks
- a red or white patch inside your mouth
- a lump inside your mouth or on your lip
- pain inside your mouth
- difficulty swallowing
- difficulty speaking or a hoarse (croaky) voice
- a lump in your neck or throat
- losing weight without trying
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:
- you have an mouth ulcer that has lasted more than 3 weeks
- you have a lump in your mouth, on your lip, on your neck or in your throat
- you have a red or white patch in your mouth
- you have pain in your mouth that's not going away
- you're having difficulty swallowing or speaking
- you have a hoarse (croaky) voice that does not go away
A dentist can also help with ulcers, lumps, patches or pain in your mouth.
These symptoms are very common and can be caused by other conditions.
Having the symptoms does not definitely mean you have mouth cancer, but it's important to get checked by a GP or dentist.
If your symptoms are caused by cancer, finding it early may mean it's easier to treat.
What happens at your dentist or GP appointment
Your dentist or GP will usually ask questions about your symptoms, lifestyle and any other medical conditions you have.
They will usually look and feel inside your mouth. They may also feel your neck and jaw.
You can ask for someone else to be in the room with you while the dentist or GP examines you.
Referral to a specialist
The dentist or GP may refer you for more tests or to see a specialist in hospital if they think you have symptoms that need to be investigated.
This may be an urgent referral, usually within 2 weeks, if you have certain symptoms. This does not definitely mean you have cancer.
Find out more
Page last reviewed: 19 June 2023
Next review due: 19 June 2026