When you think about cancer, one area that’s often overlooked is oral cancer. Oral cancer affects more than with roughly one person dying every 24 hours. The high death rate from oral cancer, with a little over half only surviving 5 years, is largely due to the fact the cancer isn’t diagnosed until the late stages. While oral cancer isn’t difficult to diagnose, it often goes unnoticed due to not having oral screenings performed regularly. However, even without an oral screening, you can start checking for oral cancer at home to learn early signs. Piney Point Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is here to help you learn how to conduct an oral cancer check at home.
Understanding Oral Cancer
Misconception leaves many to believe that oral cancer only occurs in the mouth, which isn’t so. Oral cancers are grouped with cancers known as head and neck cancers, which makes up about 85 percent of this category; however, brain cancer is in a separate category. The death rate for oral cancer is high due to the fact it isn’t often diagnosed until it has reached its late stages. In the early stages, oral cancer may produce no signs or symptoms until it has spread to another location, such as the lymph nodes of the neck. As a result, those with oral cancer have a 20 times higher risk for developing a second cancer.
It’s essential you learn to spot the signs of oral cancer early. We have easy and effective tips to begin monitoring your health for possible signs of cancer.
Checking for Oral Cancer
Often, oral cancer doesn’t produce visible growths or adhesions, but it’s not impossible. It’s important you check the tongue and floor of your mouth for any abnormalities because 60 percent of oral cancers begin in these two areas. In addition, check the cheeks, lips, roof of the mouth and back of the throat for anything that looks suspicious.
When you’re using an at-home oral cancer check, don’t stay focused on the mouth and lips. You will also need to check your neck and where the jaws connect for any signs of abnormalities. You’ll want to start with your fingers placed behind your ears, then slowly move down the neck. As you slide down the neck, check the side neck muscles and underneath the chin. There is a method known as the Gullet Grab ‘n Swallow check, which involved placing your fingers on the side of your throat and swallowing. Finally, don’t forget to check the clavicle for any abnormalities.
When checking for cancer, you’ll want to look and feel for lumps or bumps in the area. You will need to feel deeply to feel a node or lump. Should you feel something that just doesn’t seem right, please call our office at (832) 924-3799 to schedule an appointment.
Piney Point Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery wants to ensure you stay healthy. We encourage you to check for oral cancer often to increase the likeliness it’s diagnosed early. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the more promising the outcome.