The appearance, site of occurrence, and selected physical and clinical characteristics are reported for 102 symptomatic carcinomas diagnosed during a 30-month period in Torino, Italy. Erythroplasia was a more significant visual component than leukoplakia, confirming the results of a previous study on asymptomatic cancer in a US population. Floor of the mouth, oral tongue, and soft palate complex accounted for 75% of all sites and 84% of sites if posterior pillar is excluded. Seventeen percent of the lesions were T1, 60% T2, and 23% larger than T2. Size of the lesion was associated with anterior or posterior position and the mobility of the structure, as well as with ulceration, bleeding, and lymphadenopathy (55% of cancers had no nodal involvement). Tumefaction, burning, and pain were the most frequently reported symptoms. About 50% of patients experienced a time lapse between onset of symptoms and final diagnosis of less than 3 months, and this proportion was higher among patients with T1 cancers.
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