The two types of lesions that could be the precursors to cancer are white lesions (called leukoplakia) and red lesions (called erythroplakia). The red lesions are less common, but they have a greater potential to become cancerous. If a red or white lesions does not resolve itself within 2 weeks, it should be reevaluated and a biopsy should be considered for a definitive diagnosis. Other possible signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
- Numbness of the tongue
- Ear pain
- Difficulty when moving the tongue or jaw
- A lump or a thickening of the soft tissues in the mouth
If any of the above symptoms last for more than two weeks, a thorough exam and any necessary lab tests would become indicated.