Most cancer of the palate is squamous cell. Cancer of the palate usually first noticed as an ulcer in the mouth. At first the ulcer is painless, but later becomes painful. Other symptoms also occur:
- As the mass grows it can bleed
- A foul odor in the mouth
- Loose teeth or dentures no longer fit
- Changes in speech
- Difficulty swallowing
- Unable to open the jaw (trismus)
- A lump in the neck
Causes and Risk Factors
Tobacco and alcohol use are risk factors for cancer of the soft palate.
Reverse smoking is a risk factor for cancer of the hard palate. In reverse smoking, the lit end of the cigarette is placed in the mouth. Intense heat is generated during this style of smoking.