Self-Oral examination can prevent cancer: Dr. Manish S. Tiwari, Consultant-Head & Neck Cancer, Karkinos Healthcare, Kolkata

Kolkata: Incorporating simple habits into your daily routine can have a profound impact on your health. A mere 2-minute check of your mouth could be the key to preventing life-threatening diseases, such as oral cancer.


Why Is This Important? Oral cancer is a significant health concern in India, it is the most common cancers among Indian men. It has a prevalence among individuals who use tobacco products, betel nuts, pan masala, or alcohol. Early detection can make a world of difference in treatment success rates.


How to Conduct a Thorough Examination? After brushing your teeth, stand in front of mirror, follow these steps for a comprehensive self-examination:


·       Both Inner Cheeks: Use your clean hands to pull your cheeks apart gently. Inspect for any unusual changes in colour or texture.

·       Inner Parts of Lips: Examine the inside of both your upper and lower lips for any abnormalities.

·       Tongue Inspection: Carefully observe the upper surface, underside, and both sides of your tongue.

·       Palate Examination: Lastly, take a look at your palate (the roof of your mouth).


What to Look For? Normally, oral mucosa should have a pinkish colour and feel soft to the touch. However, be on the lookout for the following red flags:


·       White or Red Spots: Any unusual white or red spots could be an early sign of trouble.

·       Non-Healing Ulcers: If you have an ulcer that persists for more than two weeks without healing, it's a cause for concern.


Who's at Higher Risk? It's crucial to understand that certain behaviours can elevate your risk of oral cancer:


·       Tobacco Products: Smoking or using smokeless tobacco.

·       Betel Nuts: Chewing betel nuts, often combined with tobacco.

·       Pan Masala: Consuming products containing areca nut.

·       Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol intake.


Apart from above sharp teeth causing irritation to tongue or any other part of oral cavity should not be ignored as they may cause cancerous changes.


How to Prevent and Early Detect? Regular mouth examinations can be your first line of defence against oral cancer. In addition to self-checks, consider scheduling a specialist consultation if you notice any red flags or you fall in high-risk category. Routine dental checkups can provide professional assessments and guidance on maintaining good oral health.


Spread Awareness: Share this information with your friends and family. Encourage them to perform regular mouth inspections as well. The more people are aware of the importance of early detection, the better we can collectively prevent menace caused by oral cancer.


Taking a few minutes each day for this simple examination can make a significant difference in your long-term health. Remember, when it comes to oral cancer, prevention and early detection are your strongest allies.

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