Often, people wonder if they have a canker sore or cancer. The truth is that a canker sore is a relatively minor problem. The most common cancer, however, is oral cancer. Both of these white spots on the mouth are dangerous. It’s important to understand what each of these conditions entails, as well as how to tell the difference between the two. Here are some of the differences between canker sores and cancer.
Although canker sores are typically harmless, they can be painful. Some people experience them during stress, hormone changes, or sensitivity to certain foods. They look similar to actual sores, but are smaller and have a depressed center. Although they can be uncomfortable, they will typically go away within three to ten days. Cancer in the mouth often doesn’t cause symptoms or pain, but they are still worth seeking medical attention.
Several types of mouth cancer may mimic the symptoms of canker sores. Cancer of the tongue or floor of the mouth can look like a canker sore, so many people mistake it for oral cancer. To be safe, make an appointment with your dentist right away if you notice a sore in your mouth. A dentist will be able to perform some tests and determine whether you have cancer or not.
A canker sore typically heals on its own after seven to 14 days. However, oral cancer is a long-term issue that may require surgery. It may also have accompanying symptoms, including abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, and ulcers on other areas of the body. These can help distinguish between the two, so it’s important to seek professional medical attention when you notice a sore. And a dentist should be your first line of defense when determining whether you have a canker sore or cancer.
Although canker sores are generally harmless, they may appear on the face or in the mouth and may even cause a few other symptoms, such as a stinging sensation or numbness. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to get checked by a doctor as it could be a symptom of cancer. However, if you have a canker sore that is bigger than a half inch in diameter, then it could be an early sign of cancer. If you have cancer in your mouth, you’ll likely notice the same symptoms if you’re not screened for cancer.
While a canker sore is typically benign, it can develop into a large ulcer. Most go away on their own without medical treatment, but large ulcers may require months to heal completely. In most cases, these ulcers are small, and you don’t experience much pain. In addition to over-the-counter creams, your doctor can prescribe a prescription mouthwash or dexamethasone mouth rinse. If the pain and inflammation persists, you may also try an oral steroid if necessary. Fortunately, the majority of canker sores will heal on their own without medical intervention.
It’s important to know that oral cancer can be fatal. If caught early, it is highly likely to be curable, but a biopsy remains the best method of diagnosis. Earlier detection is key to extending your lifespan. The earlier you find out about a cancer sore, the higher the chance of recovery. You should see a doctor as soon as you suspect it’s malignant. The sooner you get treatment, the better.
While a canker sore doesn’t require medical attention, it is important to take care of it. If your mouth is prone to canker sores, it’s best to limit your exposure to the sun. Apply sunscreen to your lips and wear a hat to stay protected from the rays. A mouthwash with zinc and salt can help you heal more quickly. A good dental hygiene regime is also important. Talk with your dentist about mouthwash to prevent any potential problems.
Although there’s no definitive reason for the outbreaks of canker sores, researchers believe a combination of factors play a role in their development. While these sores are unrelated to herpes virus infections, they can be triggered by stress or a trauma to the mouth. While no one knows exactly why a person gets canker sores, they’re believed to be caused by different triggers, such as a shared environment or certain types of food.