Excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use are among the greatest risk factors in developing oral cancer. When these behaviors are combined, the risk of developing oral cancer increases even more. However, some oral cancer patients have no known risk factors, which is why it is important for everyone to perform an oral cancer self-exam each month.
Stand in a well-lit area in front of a mirror. Look at the inner surfaces of your lips and cheeks. Feel these areas with your fingers to check for lumps. Look at the roof of your mouth, your gums, and all the surfaces of your tongue. Be sure to raise your tongue and check under it. Look for red or white patches, lumps, bumps, and sores that haven't healed in 2 weeks. Feel your neck as well for lumps.
Oral cancer can happen to anyone. Early detection is the key to a better outcome. If you find anything unusual, contact your healthcare provider or dentist as soon as possible.
This program was made possible through a partnership with United Health Foundation. For more information, please visit: www.unitedhealthfoundation.org