Oral cancer can be a scary diagnosis, but much more can be done for it if you catch it early. To help you do this, we have put together some early warning signs of oral cancer and a self exam checklist in order for you to be proactive about your oral health.
There are certain risk factors that can put you at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. These risk factors include smoking or chewing tobacco, abuse of alcohol, UV Ray exposure, and biting your cheeks or lips. If you participate in any of these activities, it’s even more important to learn the warning signs of oral cancer. These include:
- Lumps or swelling on the gums, lips, the roof of your mouth, or the insides of your cheeks.
- Repeated bleeding in the mouth that takes a long time to stop.
- White, red or any other discolored patches in the mouth.
- Sores on the face or mouth that don’t heal within 1-2 weeks.
- Pain or numbness in any area of the mouth, face or neck.
There are 6 areas you’ll need to check to perform a thorough self check:
- Face- Examine the skin and note any color changes, sores, or bumps.
- Neck- Use your fingers to press along the front and sides of your neck to feel for lumps or tenderness.
- Cheeks- Look on the insides of your cheeks for sores or color changes. Press and squeeze cheeks to check for tenderness or lumps.
- Lips- Check the outside and the insides of upper and lower lips for sores or changes in color. Press the lips to feel for bumps.
- Roof of the mouth- Use your finger to check for bumps on the roof of your mouth. Open wide and check for any color changes or sores.
- Tongue- Look at and feel the top, bottom and sides of your tongue for swelling or bumps. Check for any changes in color or texture.
To come in for a cancer screening, or if you have any of the above warning signs for oral cancer, please call Denver Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Denver, Colorado to make an appointment.