Self-examine for Oral Cancer:


Oral Cancer Screening
Oral Cancer Self-exam

Oral cancer is a type of cancer that if caught early, the survival rate is very high. But unfortunately, most people don’t check for this type of cancer regularly and cancers of the mouth grow very quickly and once it does, the survival rate is very low. Oral cancer can affect any part of the mouth including tongue, cheeks, gums, lips, soft and hard palate, larynx and esophagus. Since you are the first person to notice any changes in your body, you can determine the presence of cancer early on by self-examination.

How do you do a self-examine for oral cancer?

Basically, you are responsible to look after yourself especially with your health. You are the best person to feel and see changes that happen in your own body. Here are ways on how to self-examine for this disease:

Examine  your Tongue:

  1. Pull your tongue out and check the top surface, the sides and underneath your tongue for any white or red patches, any bumps or lumps, any sores or lesions, any swelling or any changes in the texture or color of your tongue.
  2. Notice if these changes go away right away, or stay for weeks. If they don’t go away, then you need to see either your dentist or a oncologist. It is recommended to see your dentist first because your dentist can do an oral cancer exam which includes checking for tongue cancer, and if he or she finds anything abnormal, they will refer you to a specialist.

Examine of the cheeks:

  1. Use your fingers to stretch your cheeks out and visually check for any red, white or dark patches.
  2. Use you forefinger and your thumb (one on inside and other on outside of your cheek) to squeeze gently as you slide all over your cheek and fell for any lumps, bumps or swelling.

Examine the lips:

  1. Check your lips for any changes in color or texture.
  2. Gently extend your lower lip out and inspect the inside of your lip for any lumps, pumps, swellings, or discolored patches.
  3. Do the same with your upper lip.

Examine of the palate (roof of your mouth):

  1. Open your mouth wide and tilt your head back and again look for any white, red or dark patches.
  2. Run your finger along your palate to feel any pumps, lumps or swelling.

Examine your neck:

  1. Open your mouth wide and say ahhhh to check the back of the tongue and throat area for any discoloration, lesions, lumps or swelling especially those surfaces near the tonsils.
  2. Gently slide your fingers over the front and sides of your neck to feel for any lumps that are present on one side and not the other.
  3. Then do the same thing with a firm pressure, and look for any tenderness or swelling.

Although we cannot see deep enough to check the larynx or esophagus, this will still catch some of the early signs.

Coughing can be a sign, too!    

Cough which stays for a longtime, can be a determinant for oral cancer. You may feel like you only have a cold but really you do not, there are no signs of a cold, only a cough, then you need to see your doctor. Choking cough which is common to smokers are the first signs of irritated upper lungs. In order to rule out whether your cough is due to smoking or possibly cancer, you need to stop smoking for a few days or a week and see if the cough goes away. If it doesn’t then see your doctor right away.

Self-examination for oral cancer can be done in your own private space. It can save your life. Taking care of your body means keeping an eye on every angle for any abrupt changes like the manifestations of oral cancers.  Try to check around your mouth everyday if possible because this will give you a great idea of what your mouth looks like and you can detect any changes quickly. If you detect any changes or see any or the signs and symptoms we discussed, see your dentist right away.

Remember, you should still have your dentist do a oral cancer exam every six months. Also your dentist has special equipment to do a more thorough oral cancer exam to detect discolorations and lesions that may not be visible to the eye. So make sure if your dentist does not offer you this, ask for it. Also remember, treatment for oral cancer is very effective if caught at its early stages. Don’t take a risk with your life!

Here is a video on how to self examine

Watch this video on oral cancer Screening With Vizilite 

By: Ladan Zinati


  1. pax terra
    August 1, 2013

    This is more informative and helpful one post about Self-examine for Oral Cancer.
    Thanks for this.

    • admin
      August 7, 2013

      You are welcome!

  2. Strategy On Ways to Self-Examine For Oral Cancer cells | St James Dental Group
    August 7, 2013

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  3. Nicole Lee
    August 7, 2013

    Ouch! My father was actually a victim of oral cancer and I know all too well the pain he went through. The signs you mentioned (especially the coughing and the swelling of the cheeks) are all relevant and real. I second a oral cancer exam every six months! Trust me, it’s worth it!

    • admin
      August 11, 2013

      Nicole, I am sorry to hear that your father had to go through oral cancer. Thank you for sharing that. I am sure it will help others be more aware and get their oral cancer exam at least once a year, if not every six months.

  4. Samantha Fair
    August 11, 2013

    I find this artical very interesting and informative. It is thought provking to think that something as common as a cough or mouth sore can be a sign of something very serious.

  5. mike teberio
    August 12, 2013

    there is many things you can do to avoid getting oral cancer. one of them is really taking care of your mouth on a daily basis and brushing your teeth twice a day and making sure your using good mouth wash and flossing on a daily basis

  6. Prakash
    August 16, 2013

    Good article on Self-Help, Prevention is better than Cure

  7. Clint
    August 28, 2013

    I never really thought about checking for cancer of the mouth, even though I knew a man that passed from oral cancer several years ago. This article and video has opened my eyes as to how easy it is to check for oral cancer, and knowing now that early detection could save my life I think I can spare a few minutes every 6 months to check for it.

    Thank you

    • admin
      September 4, 2013

      Clint, you are very welcome and thanks for reading my article and commenting.

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    November 19, 2013

    […] “Tips On How To Self-Examine For Oral Cancer cells Self-examine for Oral Cancer cells: Oral cancer is a kind of cancer that if caught early, the survival rate is really higher. However sadly, a lot of individuals do not check for this sort of cancer regularly and cancers cells of the mouth increase really swiftly and when it does, the survival rate is really reduced. Oral cancer can impact …” […]

  9. EdwardB
    January 19, 2014

    Thank you for these reminders. With daily oral hygine in place, it’s only natural to perform these checks while brushing the teeth, tongue, and cheeks. When this exercise becomes uncomfortable for any reason, then naturally, a personal examination is obvious followed by consulting the dentist. For those who don’t care about their hygine on a daily basis, well, hopefully, those that love them will get involved.

    • admin
      January 22, 2014

      You are welcome Edward. This oral cancer self exam is something that most prople don’t do.

  10. CThomas
    January 29, 2014

    This article was very interesting. Oral cancer is not spoken about enough so I appreciate this article. I have had a cough for a while now and it never occurred to me or my doctor to check for oral cancer. The self exam is very easy to do so I will keep this in mind going forward to check monthly like I do other self exams. Again, thank you for keeping us informed about something that can get very serious very quickly.

    • admin
      February 2, 2014

      You are very welcome and it’s my pleasure to bring awareness to people. Thanks for visiting my site. Come back any time for more helpful articles.

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    March 23, 2015

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