Q: How does oral cancer start? Are there any signs I should be looking for?A: Oral cancer includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses and throat. It’s important to know the signs early on before it causes serious illness or even death. In the early stages, mouth cancer rarely causes any pain. Watch for red and white patches that don’t go away. Also watch for a large canker sore that looks like an ulcer, usually with a hole in the middle. The canker sore could be white, grey or yellow with red edges.There are a number of causes for oral cancer, including genetics alcohol, tobacco, poor nutrition and a poor oral hygiene routine. We recommend you avoid tobacco, limit your alcohol, maintain a healthy diet and brush your teeth twice daily for optimal health!Your dentist can also monitor the head, face, and neck for any abnormalities or skin lesions that look suspicious.When it comes to cancer, it’s important to catch it as early as possible. Schedule an appointment with our St. Vital or Garden City dentists today for a proper examination.