Being in tune with your body and watching out for early symptoms of disease can be your path to good health.
Having lost a friend to oral cancer, this is a time when I will become very serious. I want you attention for a short time, please.
Take a few minutes and read these words carefully and thoroughly. They could save your life.
Every hour of every day somebody in the United States dies of oral cancer. This serious disease, which affects the mouth, lips or throat, is often easy to cure if diagnosed and treated in its early stages.
When you go in for your regular dental visit, you should also be screened for oral cancer. Better yet, screen yourself at home regularly. This is doubly true for those who drink large amounts of alcohol, use tobacco products, are often exposed to sunlight, have lip or cheek chewing habits or have poor fitting loose dentures. All of these factors put you at greater risk.
Here’s how to screen for oral cancer at home:
- Look in a mirror with very good light.
- Look at your skin and check for any changes in the color or size of sores, moles or other growths.
- Press your fingers along the sides and front of your neck. Do you feel any tender spots or swellings?
- Pull your lower lip down and out and look for any sores. Use your thumb and forefinger to feel the upper and lower lips for lumps or roughness.
- Examine the insides of your cheeks for red, white or dark patches. Gently press and roll each cheek between your index finger and thumb checking for bumps, lumps or tenderness.
- Tilt your head back to see the roof of your mouth, and then run your finger along the surface. You should not feel or see any lumps or discoloration.
- Check out the top, bottom and sides of your tongue, including the soft tissue under it. Once again, note any swelling, discoloration or unusual lumps. Gently pull it forward and look again further back.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Symptoms of oral cancer include: sores on the face, neck or mouth that do not heal within a couple of weeks; swelling, lumps or bumps on the lips and gums; white, red or dark patches in your lips, cheeks, gums or tongue; and numbness, loss of feeling.
If you experience any of these symptoms, or find something unusual during your self-exam, call our office at 818-385-3681 for an appointment for Oral Cancer Screening.