Symptoms of jaw bone cancer include red or white patches, a sore that doesn't heal, a thickness or lump in the surrounding tissue, chronic hoarseness or sore throat, and trouble swallowing or chewing, according to the University of San Francisco Medical Center. Patients experience the same symptoms with cancerous tumors as they would with benign tumors or cysts in the jaw.
Doctors categorize jaw tumors and cysts as either non-cancerous, fast-growing and potentially cancerous, or cancerous, explains UCSF Medical Center. Because the jaw is composed of a variety of different tissue types, it is more susceptible to tumors and cysts than any other part of the body.
Major risk factors for developing jaw cysts and tumors include using tobacco and drinking alcohol, advises UCSF Medical Center. People with poor dental hygiene, ill-fitting dentures that irritate the mouth, poor nutrition and rough teeth surfaces are also at greater risk.
After conducting a thorough examination of the mouth, the doctor may order additional tests to determine the type of tumor and its location, reports UCSF Medical Center. These tests include head MRIs and CT scans as well as biopsies.
Once a doctor diagnoses the tumor or cyst, several treatment options are available, states UCSF Medical Center. Physicians often attempt to remove the abnormal growth through a variety of surgical techniques. Patients with cancerous tumors may also require radiation and chemotherapy treatments.