Prevention

Haven’t been diagnosed with oral cancer, but want to know what is best for oral cancer prevention?

The answer is pretty simple. The best method of oral cancer prevention is to stay away from the things that are known to be preventable causes of oral cancer. These things include:

  • Tobacco use (including smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, gutka, etc…)
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is usually transmitted through sexual contact, most often specifically in oral sex
  • Overexposure to the sun (UV light)
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables

I am at risk for oral cancer. What do I do about oral cancer prevention?

If you partake in any of the known causes of oral cancer quitting or changing your habits is the best option for oral cancer prevention and for living a healthier life in general.

Here are a few links to more information on how and why to quit tobacco:

Smokeless Tobacco/ Dip/ Snuff

HowToQuitDipping.org

Quitting Smokeless Tobacco from the American Cancer Society

Smoking Cigarettes/ Pipes/ Cigars

 

Want to stay on top of your health and be aware of any changes to your mouth?

Early detection is key.

As with all types of cancer, catching oral cancer early is best. Oral cancer is much easier to treat and chances or survival are much higher if found in the early stages. Here are a couple of simple oral cancer prevention techniques:

  • Self examinations are a good way to regularly check for any possible cancerous spots. Check for any oral cancer symptoms.
  • Regularly visit the dentist or doctor. Regular visits mean they can find and track any sudden changes or irregularities in your mouth.

Here are some suggestions from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research on what to expect in a basic oral cancer exam performed by a dentist or doctor.

1. In preparing for the oral exam remove dentures or partials if you have them.

2. The dentist or doctor will first look for any visible signs of cancer on your face, neck, lips and mouth.

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam 2a

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 2b

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 2c

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 2d

3. The dentist or doctor will feel for lumps in the area under your jaw and the side of your neck.

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam 3

4. The dentist or doctor will then look for red and/or white patches and other signs of cancer on the insides of your lips and cheeks.

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 4a

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 4b

5. Next, he or she will look for swelling, an abnormal color or texture on your tongue.

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 5

6. Using gauze, the dentist or doctor will then gently pull your tongue to both sides, to check the base and underside of your tongue for any possible cancerous spots.

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 6a

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 6b

7. In addition, he or she will look at the roof and floor of your mouth, as well as the back of your throat.

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 7a

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 7b

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 7c

8. Lastly, your provider will check for lumps or sensitivity in your mouth by placing one finger in your mouth and the other under your chin.

Oral Cancer Prevention Exam Step 8

Want more information on oral cancer prevention?

For additional information on oral cancer and oral cancer prevention we recommend visiting our other pages focused on cancer in the oral cavity.

For more information on a specific type of oral cancer we suggest visiting one of the pages listed below for more information.

References

Oral Cancer Exam, The. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/OralCancer/TheOralCancerExam.htm. Accessed January 11, 2012.

Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/OralCavityandOropharyngealCancer/DetailedGuide/index. Accessed January 4, 2012.

What you need to know about oral cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/oral/allpages. Accessed January 8, 2012.

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    All content on this site is for general information purposes only. It is not and should not be considered medical advice or used in place of the advice of a medical professional. Always seek the advice of a doctor or other professional for any medical condition.