December 6, 2019, is National Oral Cancer Day. Every year, on this day, we vow to raise awareness about oral cancer among all people. If more and more people become aware of the threats of oral cancer, they will try to remain safe from it and take the necessary steps to avoid it. The first step of awareness is to know what oral cancer is. Cancer that develops in the tissues of the mouth or throat is called oral cancer. In the squamous cells of the mouth, tongue and lips, most oral cancers develop. It is a part of a larger group of cancers called head and neck cancers.

The 8-Step Oral Cancer Self-Screening

According to the best oncologist in Kolkata, people should follow some simple steps for oral cancer screening. If they find any abnormalities during screening, they must seek medical help. The steps are mentioned below:

  1. Look at your head and neck standing in front of a mirror. Check properly for any swelling or masses around your neck while tilting your head back.
  2. Return your head to the upright position by lowering your chin. Try to feel under your neck and both sides of your neck. This area contains many lymph nodes, which may sometimes feel enlarged. It may be for normal reasons like a common cold or it may indicate some cancerous condition.
  3. Press and feel the inside and outside of your lips with your thumbs and forefingers to check for any swelling or masses. You should also check your lips for any changes in colour, ulcers or crusted tissue. The mucous membranes that line the lips should also be examined for these changes.
  4. With the help of your hands, pull your lips away from your gums. After that, examine the gum tissue for red spots, ulcers or white patches. It may be a matter of concern if your gums are inflamed or bleeding.
  5. Pull your cheeks away from your gums using your thumbs and forefingers. Then press and feel the inside and outside surfaces of the cheeks. Feel the area properly for swelling, masses or rough surfaces. A proper examination should also be done for colour changes including red spots or white patches and ulcers on the tissue lining the inside of the cheek. You may have to ultimately visit a cancer specialist in Kolkata in case of any abnormal condition.
  6. Tilt your head back, open your mouth and examine the roof of your mouth. Check the area properly for any unusual growths, white patches or red spots.
  7. Grasp the end of your tongue and pull it forward, right and left. Touch its tip to the root of your mouth. Look properly at each surface area of the tongue for red spots, white patches or ulcers.
  8. Keep the tip of your tongue touched to the roof of your mouth. Check underneath your tongue and the floor of your mouth. Press and feel the areas for lumps and check for suspicious lesions.

The sides of the tongue and the floor of the mouth under the tongue are the most common areas affected by oral cancer. In your mouth or throat, if there is a lesion or swelling that does not go away within 7-14 days, contact your doctor. He/she will suggest you go for biopsy or other tests if needed.