Cancer symptoms: Numbness of the tongue could signal a ‘medical problem’

Lung cancer: Dr Amir describes the symptoms

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This includes numbness in the tongue, one of seven signs the Cleveland Clinic says could signal something malicious, something a little more maleficent than toothache.

In some cases, these symptoms can be a symptom of mouth cancer.

As well as numbness in the mouth other signs that can arise, possibly indicating something sinister include:

• Nagging mouth pain
• Bleeding sore in the mouth that won’t heal and lasts for more than two weeks
• Swelling in the neck that lasts for more than two weeks
• An area in the mouth that becomes discoloured and stays that way
• A lump or thickening in the cheek that doesn’t go away
• A constant feeling of something caught in your throat or a change in your voice that lasts longer than two weeks.

Brian Berkeley, MD at the Cleveland Clinic says of these signs: “We see patients all the time who had an irritation around their tooth that ends up being squamous cell cancer, which may have been bothering them for up to a year.”

While every cancer is dangerous Burkey adds: “The good news is that when picked up early, these cancers are highly, highly curable.”

The earlier cancer is detected the faster it can be treated.

The later its diagnosed, the harder it is to treat.

One of the problems with the different forms of mouth cancer is that while it’s easy to check for, it’s also easy to forget.

In a world where everyone is so busy and has so many worries, it’s easy to put off going to see dentist or a GP about a nagging mouth related issue.

As a result, this putting off through sheer weight of life can mean some cancers are not diagnosed soon enough.

This is why it is recommended by Dr Burkey to go and see someone if symptoms have persisted for more than two weeks.

However, just because a person has a numb mouth does not mean they automatically have cancer.

Toothpaste manufacturer Colgate lists a number of reasons for numb mouth including hypocalcaemia, vitamin deficiencies, hypoglycaemia, multiple sclerosis, psychological conditions and nerve-related paresthesia.

Other potential conditions include:
• Allergic reaction
• Seizures
• Burning mouth syndrome.

Oral cancer is listed with Colgate writing: “This type of cancer is often related to the use of alcohol or tobacco or infection with the HPV virus.”

Other risk factors for mouth cancer include an unhealthy diet, chewing betel nuts with or without tobacco, and poor oral hygiene.

Most health bodies recommend brushing twice a day for at least two minutes.

Mouth wash is also suggested and is available in most supermarkets and pharmacies.

Should any symptoms persist consult either a dentist or GP.

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