How to Perform a Self-Check for Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can occur in the lips, gums, tongue, inside lining of the cheeks, roof of the mouth, or the floor of the mouth, and it’s not always presented with pain. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to get screened for oral cancer regularly or perform a self-check at home. November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, and the Mouth Cancer Foundation has provided recommendations for performing this easy check yourself. The ‘Bite Back at Mouth Cancer’ self-examination has been devised by Mouth Cancer Foundation Ambassadors, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Mahesh Kumar and Dentist Philip Lewis.

The neck: Look for swelling by running your fingers along your jaw and making sure both sides feel the same.

The face: Look for changes in your skin and any potential areas of swelling. Turn your head from side to side to check for any lumps.

Lips/Gums: Use your fingers to probe around the inside of your lips, feeling for sores, lumps, bumps, or changes in texture and looking for changes in color.

Cheeks: Open your mouth and pull your cheeks, looking specifically for red or white patches. Then feel around for lumps, bumps, or tender areas.

Tongue: Examine both sides of your tongue by pulling it out, looking for swelling or change in color.

Floor/Roof of Mouth: Once again, open your mouth wide to examine the roof and floor of your mouth and look closely for changes in color or texture or bumps and lumps that might have emerged.

Note anything that you might think is unusual, and be sure to give yourself time to heal from any recent sicknesses. Like many cancers, mouth cancer is vicious if it’s detected too late, so regular checks are essential.

To read the entire checklist provided by the Mouth Cancer Foundation, visit http://www.mouthcancerfoundation.org/get-involved/bite-back-mouth-cancer.

If you have any lingering questions about mouth cancer screenings or if you would like to schedule a dental exam, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.

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