Early Detection of Oral Cancer Increases Survival Rates

Published on February 9, 2016 by

Early Detection of Oral Cancer Increases Survival Rates

As with other forms of cancer, the chances of surviving oral cancer are greatly increased when you catch it in its early stages. In fact, survival rates are as high as 81 percent when oral cancer is detected early, compared to a survival rate of 17 percent or less with late intervention. And while nothing can take the place of a thorough oral cancer screening by a dentist or physician, regular self-exams at home can increase the likelihood that an oral cancer lesion will be detected early.


As you examine your mouth, you are looking for the following:

  • Reddish patches
  • White patches
  • Raised, lumpy, or thickened areas
  • A sore that fails to heal within about two weeks, or that bleeds easily

Now you know what to look for, time to start checking.

  • Use a flashlight or other bright light to see inside your mouth.
  • Remove any dental appliances (retainers, dentures).
  • Facing a mirror, look and feel inside your lips and at your front gums.
  • Pull your cheek out to see the inside, as well as the back gums.
  • Tilt your head back and check the roof of your mouth.
  • Stick out your tongue and check all surfaces, particularly the sides and underneath.
  • Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes in both sides of the neck and under the lower jaw. Other signs of oral cancer include a chronic sore throat, hoarseness, and difficulty chewing or swallowing.

Attending routine recare appointments will also help detect any signs of oral cancer.

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