Oral Cancer

It’s always best to stick to a regular self examination to detect oral cancer early on.

Tobacco and/or alcohol use, poor oral hygiene, poor nutrition, irritation and chronic infections are all causes of oral cancer.
Follow these steps when examining your mouth:

  • 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
Look for the following when self examining your mouth:

  • white patches of the oral tissues — leukoplakia
  • red patches — erythroplakia
  • red and white patches — erythroleukoplakia
  • a sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • an abnormal lump or thickening of the tissues of the mouth
  • chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • difficulty in chewing or swallowing
  • a mass or lump in the neck

If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your oral & maxillofacial surgeon. They may suggest a biopsy to remove a piece of the suspicious tissue. If so, the tissue is sent to pathology laboratory for a microscopic examination to accurately diagnose the problem.