How to Check Yourself for Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is serious business. The good news is that you can do something about it. Regular self-examinations may help you pick up on warning signs in time to act on them. Oral health professionals are experts on mouths, but the only expert on you is YOU. If you notice something strange going on in your mouth, contacting a professional at our office is your best mode of action.
The first and most important thing to remember is oral cancer is often painless! The second rule to remember is that if you aren’t sure, ask! Its better to ask now and be sure than to wish you had asked. There are no dumb questions when it comes to looking for oral cancer. And, most importantly: any suspicious area that doesn’t resolve on its own in 14 days should be checked out ASAP.
The key to eliminating oral cancer is to act on it early. Here are some things to check regularly.
Look for lumps and bumps on the upper and lower surfaces of your tongue. Feel around for odd textures, bumps, discoloration or swelling. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth to peek underneath. Don’t limit your search to the red flags above. Use your fingers and your vision.
Gently feel your cheeks for bumps and swelling. You can do this by placing your finger on the interior and your thumb outside your cheek. Lightly squeeze and feel around for anomalies.
Take a good look at the interior of your lips with a hand mirror. Keep an eye out for the same signs. Lips are harder to be sure about because they are constantly drying, wetting, and being scraped as we eat and speak. Nonetheless, lips are prone to cancer given that they re always exposed to sunlight. Better safe than sorry.
Your Head/Neck Area
Closely examine your head and neck for lumps and protrusions. A bump or lack of uniformity is absolutely worth checking out. Ask us at your next visit to check out your throat too. Keep an eye out for sensitivity and soreness.
With oral cancer, the key is to keep your eye out for anything out of the ordinary. Anything that seems strange is worth noting and calling our office about.
Call your dentist for a checkup!