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Oral Cancer Self-Screening: Why Everybody Is Doing It (Or Should Be)

According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancer rates are increasing all over the United States. That is primarily because a lot of people do not get tested for the disease. Fortunately, people can screen themselves to find out if they have oral cancer, allowing them to start treatment before the disease spreads.

Why you should screen yourself for oral cancer

With oral cancer rates increasing, people are becoming more aware of the disease, which should help save a lot of lives in the future. Since some people cannot afford to go to the doctor or dentist to get screened, medical professionals are encouraging them to screen themselves at home.

People who are interested in screening themselves for oral cancer can do so following a few simple steps. Those steps involve looking for any lumps, sores, moles, lesions or growths. If a lump is found during the screening, doctors recommend waiting for two weeks to see if it disappears before going into the hospital to get checked out. Doctors also recommend being aware of any red, white or dark colored patches on the skin as well as any patches or lesions that have a matte feeling to them.

How to check for oral cancer

People can screen themselves for oral cancer following these steps:

1. Look in the mirror

People can feel lumps on their faces and necks with their hands. But, they get a better picture of the lump by conducting the search for lumps in front of a mirror. This allows them to see things that they are unable to see while using just their hands.

2. Look for changes in skin color

This does not mean there will be drastic changes in the color of the person’s skin. It simply means the lumps or lesions will have a slightly different color than the rest of their skin, which make them more noticeable. If the lumps or sores on the neck and face have a different color, a visit to the hospital should be scheduled.

3. Check the neck thoroughly

When searching for lumps, people should make sure that they check their necks thoroughly, especially men, who tend to have bumps on their skin after they shave. Doctors recommend starting from under the jaw and moving down to the Adam’s apple. Once the Adam’s apple has been reached, the people conducting the screening should swallow and make sure the Adam’s apple goes up and down instead of side to side.

4. Examine the tongue

During the screening, the tongue should be pulled out so the sides can be examined for lumps, lesions or sores. The tissue beneath the tongue should also be examined.

5. Check both cheeks and lips

The inside of the cheeks should be examined for lumps by placing the index finger inside the cheek with the thumb on the outside and moving it around in the mouth to feel for lumps. The lips should also be pulled out to check for lumps or blisters on the lips and gums.

Conclusion

Oral cancer is a potentially fatal disease, especially when it is left untreated for a long time. Stay ahead of the disease by performing oral cancer screening at home on a regular basis.

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