Although the oral cavity is usually regularly examined for signs of oral cancer during routine dentist appointments, it is also recommended to conduct monthly self-examinations.
Where to Look: High-Risk Areas
When checking for signs of oral cancer, it is important to thoroughly observe the oral cavity. The most cancer-prone regions are the underside and sides of the tongue, the floor of the mouth, the soft palate, and the tonsils. All of these areas should be carefully examined, but it is also a good idea to look out for changes on the face and neck, lips, and insides of cheeks.
What to Look for: Lumps, Bumps, and Lesions
During a self exam, you are basically checking for any apparent changes in the oral and facial tissues such as lumps, bumps, lesions, swelling, ulcers, or loose teeth. If any suspicious changes remain for two weeks or longer, you should schedule a professional examination with your dentist or oral surgeon. It is also important to consider how your mouth feels; if any pain or soreness persists, this should be brought to your doctor’s attention.
What to Look for: Color Change
You should check for any color changes in the oral tissues, but also the skin on the face and neck. Look for any red, white, or bluish color changes–these could potentially be signs of oral cancer. Just like with lumps, bumps, and lesions, if color changes do not go away after two weeks, you may want to contact an oral surgeon.
Once a diagnosis has been established, the best treatment plan for your particular case can be made. If you have any questions about oral cancer or self-exams, do not hesitate to contact Austin Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Early detection is key, so it is very important that any suspicion you may have, no matter how small it may be, is properly addressed.