5 simple steps, you can save your life

Oral cancer/ mouth cancer is basically an abnormal growth found in our mouth. This cancer can be detected during routine mouth examination. Oral cancer commonly occurs at our cheek, tongue, floor of the mouth and lip. This is fortunately one of the best cancers to detect early, because it presents in a part of your body that is so prominent and easily seen by yourself, your family and friends.

How to do self-examination for mouth cancer? 

One further step in good home oral care is regular self –examination for oral cancer.  Keep in mind, any sore that has been in the mouth for more than a week should be brought to a dentists attention at once.  

The chances are good that it will prove not to be malignant, but we are better able than ever to diagnose and treat precancerous conditions, and early detection is of the greatest importance.  You can play a major part in preventing oral cancer or catching it while it can be readily treated and cured if you take the time to examine the mouth regularly for any signs of disease. 

Self Examination Steps: 

Get ready these items: flashlight, small mirror (optional), piece of gauze/toilet paper, wall mirror, and spoon.   

  1. Check you neck:

    • Look at yourself in the mirror – both sides of your face and neck should look the same. Look at the skin on your neck and face for any changes in color, moles that have changed, lumps or sores. Feel both sides of your neck gently with your fingertips.
    • Gently place your finger over your “Adam’s Apple” and swallow.It should move up and down, not to the side. Report any hoarseness that doesn’t clear up within two weeks.
  2. Check inside your lip:

    1. Remove any dentures or appliances from your mouth.
    2. Check the inside of your lips first by using pulling down your lower lip, and pull up your upper lip. Look for any red/ white patches, lumps or bumps
  3. Check inside your cheek:

    1. Use a spoon to stretch your cheek.
    2. Look for any red/ white patches, lumps or bumps 
  4. Check your tongue:

    1. Use a piece of gauze/ toilet paper between your finger and thumb, pull out your tongue and examine all sides (top, bottom and side) 
    2. Feel your tongue with your fingers.
    3. Look for any red/ white patches, lumps or bumps
  5. Check the roof of your mouth and floor of the mouth :

    1. Use your index finger to press gently on the roof of your mouth, and floor of the mouth to feel for any changes.
    2. Remember, you are looking for color changes, swelling and changes in shape
  6. That's all!