April: Oral Cancer Awareness Month
April is oral cancer awareness month! To spread some awareness, we'll cover some things you should be looking for that should be brought up to a doctors attention if found. We'll also go over how to perform a self exam at home so you can check for those symptoms yourself. Keep in mind those that are heavy drinkers and smokers are at a higher risk, but studies show rates are rising outside that group as well so it would benefit anybody to perform self exams routinely.
To perform a self exam at home just follow these steps:
Remove any dentures (if applicable)
Look and feel inside the lips and the front of the gums
Tilt the head back and inspect/feel the roof of the mouth
Pull each cheek to the side to see the whole inside surface as well as the back of the gums
Feel and look around all surfaces of the tongue
Feel for any enlarged lymph nodes on either side of the neck and under the lower jaw
What exactly should you be looking for? You want to look for any suspicious lumps or lesions or sores that might stand out to you. Those are some major symptoms that come up with oral cancer. That paired with swollen lymph nodes are tell signs of oral cancer. As with anything, early detection is key for treatment as it can raise the survival rate by a considerable amount. If ever you have any questions, please reach out to your doctor or dentist to get any further advise.
-Webster Dental Associates