Did you know over 5,400 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer every year and about 6% of cases occur in people 40 and under? That’s why we believe that early detection is key. Conducting self-exams between dental visits is a great way to stay in the know and take action at the earliest detection.
Use this step-by-step to complete a self-exam between dental visits:
- Using a piece of tissue, grab the tip of your tongue and examine it from all sides. Use your index finger to look for tenderness, swelling, bumps, and changes in colour.
- Check the edges of your lips for any lesions or sores. Next, pull up your upper lip using your index fingers and thumbs to check the underside for red or white sores. Gently massage your lips to feel for lumps, bumps or tenderness. Repeat with your bottom lip.
- Pull back your cheek to look for any red or white patches or lesions. Using those same fingers, feel around for any lumps or bumps. Repeat on the other side.
- Raise your tongue towards the roof of your mouth to easier access the floor of your mouth. Place one index finger on the floor of your mouth and another under your chin to check for tenderness, lumps, bumps and red or white patches.
- Open wide to get a better look at the roof of your mouth. Check for lumps, bumps, tenderness and red or white patches. Use your index finger to rub the roof of your mouth to check for swelling.
- Using all four fingers, rub your neck in a circular motion to check for lumps, bumps or tender areas. Repeat this on the back of your neck, along your hairline and behind and in front of your ears.
- Press down on your tongue with a tongue depressor or spoon and say “ahhh”. Do this while looking at the back of your throat to check for red and white patches or unusual bumps.
Oral cancer best responds to treatment when detected early. Checking thoroughly and often is the easiest way to fight it off. If you have any questions or if you detect anything concerning when conducting your self-exams, give us a call or set up an appointment today.