Differences Between a Cold Sore and a Cancerous Lesion

One confusing area of oral health is understanding the differences between a cold sore and a cancerous lesion. If you notice a lesion on the soft tissue of the inside or outside of your mouth, be sure to get an oral cancer screening in Jacksonville, NC. Early detection of oral cancer significantly increases the chances of successful treatment, and you should never assume that a lesion is harmless.

What is a Cold Sore?

A cold sore is often referred to as a fever blister. This is because they often appear when immunity is low, such as when you have a cold or are undergoing a stressful time. Cold sores typically occur on or around the lips. They eventually burst and crust over but can last up to two weeks or sometimes a little longer. Although cold sores are highly contagious, they aren’t fatal, like oral cancer can be.

What is a Cancerous Lesion?

A cancerous lesion may appear anywhere in the mouth, like the palate, throat, tongue, cheeks, etc. Cancerous lesions aren’t necessarily associated with colds or stressful situations; they can happen anytime. They won’t go away in two weeks, either. Instead, they worsen, grow and become more dangerous the longer they go undetected.

Cancerous oral lesions often look like white, red, or “angry” patches of tissue and may bleed or swell. They’re sometimes hard or rough, but not always. The longer they persist, the more severe the symptoms may become, causing a sore throat, discomfort in chewing, jaw pain, and more.

If you notice a lesion in your mouth or on your lips, please don’t try to diagnose it yourself. Early detection of oral cancer is essential for the best possible treatment outcome. Contact your dentist in Jacksonville, NC, for an oral cancer screening appointment.


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