Mouth and throat cancer About 8,000 new cases in UK men a year Possible symptoms: Mouth ulcers that won’t heal. Soreness in the tongue or mouth. Red or white patches in the mouth or throat. Discomfort when chewing or swallowing. A lump in the lip, mouth or throat. Lifestyle risk factors: Smoking or chewing tobacco. Drinking alcohol (especially harmful if combined with smoking). Being overweight. Exposure to human papilloma virus (HPV), which can be transmitted through oral sex, may also be a risk factor.