Oral Cancer

A form of cancer that can affect the lips, lower and upper jaw, tongue, gums, cheeks and the throat.

Oral cancer is often caused by smoking or chewing tobacco and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. It can cause speech and swallowing problems if it changes any part of the way the mouth moves.

  • Signs of oral cancer include a red or white patch or lump in the mouth lasting more than a month, a sore in the mouth that bleeds easily, problems chewing, swallowing and moving the tongue and jaw.
  • An individual’s ability to speak clearly and fluently may become difficult resulting from oral cancer. This can include Dysarthria.
    • Dysarthria: A motor speech disorder that causes slurred speech due to muscle weakness. A person with Dysarthria may have slurred speech, be difficult to understand, speak slowly or too fast, vocal changes, difficulty with moving lips / tongue / jaw and with coordinating breathing / speaking.
  • An individual may have difficulties with eating and drinking resulting from oral cancer. This is known as Dysphagia.
    • Dysphagia is a swallowing disorder that can be caused by oral cancer. An individual with Dysphagia may suffer from weakness of the oral muscles (lips, tongue, jaw) and experience difficulties with chewing food and / or clearing it out of the mouth. Additionally, people may experience frequent coughing and choking while eating and drinking due to weakness of the throat muscles. This can lead to other serious medical conditions including dehydration, malnutrition and Pneumonia, if left untreated.
  • A Speech, Language and Swallowing Pathologist may need to be consulted in order to help adjustment to the changes in the mouth following surgery, chemotherapy and / or radiation for speech and / or swallowing difficulties. The Speech, Language and Swallowing Pathologist may assist with speech clarity and teach how to form the sounds correctly. Swallowing treatment may include recommending appropriate diet textures following the changes in the oral cavity.
  • At Q Enrichment Center, our Speech, Language and Swallowing Pathologist will conduct an extensive comprehensive assessment to determine the type of difficulty, the severity, as well as the diagnosis. A detailed report will be completed along with a treatment plan specific to each individual’s needs.