Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer affects about 30,000 Americans each year, and only half of those diagnosed live for five more years. As with most cancers, early detection is key, and self-exams are quick and fairly simple since the symptoms are easy to spot. They may include:
- a lump in the throat
- a thickening or lump (s) in the lining of the mouth
- tongue numbness
- red or white lesions in the mouth
- any dark blue or black spots on the tongue
Once a week, give yourself a little "Ah" in front of the mirror and check out your tongue (top and bottom), your gum areas, the back of mouth and the inside cheek areas of your mouth. Being on the lookout for any abnormal activity in the mouth can help you stay on top of your own health. But you can't be your own dentist. See your dentist or dental hygienist every six months, and they will screen you. If you've had significant dental work done, schedule appointments more frequently, such as every three or four months.