Oral Cancer checks

Smokers and drinkers in the over 40 year age group are particularly at risk. Every time you attend for a routine examination your whole mouth is checked thoroughly to ensure there are no abnormalities. It is especially important to have any red, white or mixed patches, persistent ulcers or soreness in the mouth checked by your dentist or doctor. You will be informed of the results of this examination.

The self examination

Mouth cancer can strike in a number of places, including the lips, tongue, gums and cheek. Given early detection is so crucial with mouth cancer, it’s vitally important everyone knows the signs and symptoms. These include:

  • Ulcers which do not heal three weeks
  • Red and white patches in the mouth
  • Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth

By following these seven steps to safety, early detection is made all the more possible: 

  1. Head and Neck Look at your face and neck.  Do both sides look the same?  Look for any lumps, bumps or swellings that are only on one side of the face.
  2. Neck Feel and press along the sides and front of your neck. Can you feel any tenderness or lumps?
  3. Lips Pull down your lower lip and look inside for any sores or change in colour.  Next, use your thumb and forefinger to feel the lip for lumps, bumps or changes in texture.  Repeat this on the upper lip.
  4. Cheek Use your finger to pull out the cheek so that you can see inside.  Look for red, white or dark patches.  Put your index finger inside your cheek and your thumb on the outside.  Gently squeeze and roll the cheek to check for any lumps, tenderness or ulcers. Repeat on the other cheek.
  5. Roof of the Mouth Tilt back your head and open your mouth wide to see if there are any lumps or if there is any change in colour.  Run your finger on the roof of the mouth to feel for any lumps.
  6. Tongue Stick out your tongue and look at the surface for any changes in colour or texture.  Gently pull out the tongue and look at one side first, then the other side.  Look for any swelling, change in colour or ulcers. Examine the underside of the tongue by placing the tip of your tongue on the roof of the mouth.
  7. Floor of the mouth Look at the floor of the mouth for changes in colour that are different than normal.  Gently press your finger along the floor of their mouth and underside of the tongue to feel for any lumps, swellings or ulcers.
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