Hard palate cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that begins when cells that make up the bony part of the roof of the mouth grow out of control and form lesions or tumors. The hard palate creates a barrier between the mouth and the nasal cavity.


Types of Palate Cancer

Palate cancer is of two types – hard palate cancer and soft palate cancer.

Hard Palate Cancer begins in the bony part on the roof of the mouth. Although it’s located in the front part of the mouth, it’s actually considered a cancer of the head and neck.

Soft Palate Cancer starts in the soft palate cells, which are on the upper portion of the back of your mouth, right behind your teeth. Unlike hard palate cancer, soft palate cancer is a type of throat cancer.

Palate Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Catching any signs or symptoms early on and getting them checked out right away is the key to ensuring the most positive outcome. Let’s go over some signs and symptoms, so you know what to look out for.

The most common sign of hard palate cancer is usually the appearance of an ulcer on the roof of the mouth. As it grows, the ulcer may start bleeding. Dentists and dental hygienists are usually the first to notice the beginning signs of hard palate cancer during their routine exams. So, make sure you get a dental examination regularly!

Other hard palate cancer symptoms can include:

  • bad breath
  • loose teeth or pain around your teeth
  • dentures that no longer fit
  • speech changes
  • difficulty swallowing or moving your jaw
  • a lump in your neck

Soft palate cancer has some similar signs and symptoms, which can include the following:

  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Bleeding
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Mouth pain and/or sores that don’t heal
  • Weight loss
  • Ear pain
  • Swelling in your neck that may hurt