Self Examination Of Oral Cavity Cancer
Cancer of the oral cavity is a public health problem and most cases are not diagnosed until it has reached a much later and advanced stage. Hence, to help with this, in this blog we will be discussing some ways in which you can self examine oral cavity cancer.
Oral cavity cancer starts in the mouth. It can also be called oral cancer. Oropharyngeal cancer starts in the middle part of the throat, just behind the oral cavity that can be seen when the mouth is open. The oral cavity includes the lips, inside lining of the lips and cheeks, the teeth, the gums, the front two-third of the tongue, the floor of the mouth below the tongue, the bony roof of the mouth and the area behind the wisdom tooth.
Oral Cancer is easily preventable and treatable if discovered at an earlier stage. However, most patients do not realise it under a much later stage and only half of those who develop the disease manage to survive after five years.
While doing so, one needs to take care of a few essential pointers like:- a mirror, clean hands and a good light source. The ways you can notice the changes in the different parts are:
- Face- Look at your whole face and inspect for any swelling or changes that have been observed recently. Also, look for any moles that have become larger, started to itch or bleed. Lastly, turn your face from side-to-side, this stretches the skin over the muscles and makes the lumps easier to notice.
- Neck- Run your fingers under your jaw and feel along the large muscle on either side of the neck using the balls of the fingers. Notice any swelling or if both sides feel equal to each other.
- Lips- Use your index, middle fingers and thumb to feel the inside of your mouth. Pull your upper lip upwards and lower lip lower to look for any sores or change in color. Use your thumb and forefinger to check for any lumps, bumps or change in texture.
- Gums- Use your thumb and forefinger on the inside and outside of the gums and make your way around your gums to feel anything unusual.
- Cheeks- Open your mouth, and pull your cheeks, one side at a time using your fingers to look inside. Look for any red or white patches. Using your fingers, check for any ulcers, lumps or tenderness. Repeat the same on the other side as well. You can also use your tongue to locate any sore areas, ulcers or patches.
- Tongue- Gently pull out your tongue, first look on one side and then slowly on the other. Try to spot any swelling, ulcer or change in color. Also don’t forget to examine the bottom of your tongue by lifting your tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth.
- Floor of the mouth- Lift up your tongue to access the floor of your mouth to look for any unusual color changes. Gently, press your finger to the floor of your mouth to check for any lumps, swellings or ulcers.
- Roof of the mouth- Open your mouth and tilt your face upwards to check the roof of your mouth. Check for any changes in color, ulcers or change in texture.
If you notice any unusual behaviour while noticing the above things, I would recommend you to make a note of it. However, if you have recently had a cold, sore throat, ulcer or swollen gland, bitten or scolded yourself, then these should heal in the span of 3 weeks. If they do not heal completely in 3 weeks then I would strongly urge you to consult a doctor about this as if you have oral cancer then it can be detected at an early stage and help make the treatment process much easier and increase the chances of survival.