Oral Self-Exam Assists in Early Cancer Detection

Oral Self-Exam Assists in Early Cancer Detection

Self-Check Oral Health

A self-exam is easy to perform and may make early detection possible. Over 30,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Approximately 10,000 will die from it.

The most common area for oral cancer to appear is on the lips. You should look in the mirror at your upper and lower lips, and examine both the outer and inner surfaces for any sores or colored areas. Then check for any lumps or swellings by holding the lip between the thumb and index finger, and moving along the entire lip surface.

The second most common area is the side of the tongue. To examine the tongue, stick it straight out and first examine the top surface. Then, using a piece of gauze, hold the tongue and move it from right to left to examine both sides.

Finally, touch the tongue to the roof of your mouth to see areas underneath. Any discoloration or swelling in any of these areas should be noted. The floor of the mouth should also be examined. Place one finger directly on the floor of the mouth and one finger outside of the mouth under your chin. Pressing both fingers lightly against each other, you can detect any swellings. Again, move the fingers together so that the entire floor of the mouth is examined.

Check for any color changes or sores in the cheeks and gums. By using the thumb and index finger of one hand, you will be able to detect any growth in the cheeks. The side of the face and neck area should be looked at and touched. Look for any sores or warts and moles that may have changed in color or size.

If an old sore looks unusual, or a new sore develops, you should make an appointment with your dentist at Signal Hill Dental Centre. Remember, often the most serious forms of oral cancer are not painful. If you have any questions or concerns, our staff team would be more than happy to help you.