Oral cancer is an umbrella term that covers cancers that affect the lips, mouth, salivary glands or throat. As many as half a million people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Symptoms may be sores in the mouth that do not heal, difficulty or pain while swallowing, bleeding in the mouth, unexplained white patches on the lips, and an unexplained growth on the gums or lips. Any of these symptoms must be referred to a doctor immediately.
Oral cancer does not receive as much attention as many other types of cancers, but it can be fatal. It can also, depending on the severity of your symptoms, make it very difficult for you to work at your current job or work at any kind of job at all.
The Social Security Administration includes head and neck cancers and salivary cancers in a list of conditions that are eligible for expedited processing of claims. The Compassionate Allowances program allows for faster processing of claims for certain conditions that are likely to worsen quickly or which are chronic. Several types of oral cancers fall under this category.