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Self-Exams for Oral Cancer

Since early detection is vital to survival, self-examination for a variety of cancers is widely recommended. Mole checks for skin cancer and breast exams are common practice.  Despite the rise in oral cancers, self-examination of the oral cavity is rarely taught or stressed.  The American Association for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons recommends a monthly oral self-exam using a bright light and mirror.  The AAOMS instructions include the following:

· remove any dentures

· look and feel inside the lips and the front of gums

· tilt head back to inspect and feel the roof of your mouth

· pull the cheek out to see its inside surface as well as the back of the gums

· pull out your tongue and look at all of its surfaces

· feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes (glands) in both sides of the neck including under the lower jaw

Printable instructions for a self-exam can be found HERE.

An instructional video can be viewed HERE.

Learn the techniques used to detect ulcerations, discolored patches, nodules (lumps) and other signs of oral cancers.  Visit your Dentist and Hygienist on a regular basis for a professional oral cancer screening. Alert your Dentist or an Oral Surgeon is you note any areas of concern and seek a second opinion if necessary.

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