How to Check for Mouth Cancer at Home

Updated on November 23, 2019
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I'm a dental hygienist, pyrography artist, avid gardener, writer, vegetarian, world traveler, and many other things!


Why Oral Cancer Has a High Death Rate

Oral cancer is something that most people, including doctors and dentists, don't think about on a regular basis. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than for any other type of cancer, including malignant melanoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, and cervical and thyroid cancers.

"Oral cancer is hard to detect because it is typically a small painless white or red spot in the mouth so this is easily ignored. Many people do not have regular dental care so this is not detected early. In fact, statistically, there is a poor prognosis for oral cancer and this has not changed over the years," says Dr. Sandra J. Eleczko, DDS.

The high death rate isn't because oral cancer is hard to catch or necessarily difficult to remove, but because it's often caught too late. Over-scheduled doctors are so preoccupied with getting to all their patients in a timely manner, they forget or neglect to perform routine oral cancer examinations. Our trust in doctors also contributes to the problem, with most believing that if the doctor says we are healthy, we are. Yet this is sometimes not the case. To combat cancer and other ailments, we must take our health into our own hands.

This article is in no way a substitute for regular dental check-ups and dental cleanings. However, it will teach you to keep a vigilant eye for anything abnormal in your mouth. Talk with your hygienist about oral cancer the next time you go in, and be sure they do an oral cancer screening every six months.

In the meantime, I will teach you how to check for oral cancer at home. It takes roughly two to three minutes, but will probably take longer the first few times you do it.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, go to your dentist immediately.

  • Mouth sores that don't heal within two weeks or start to bleed
  • White, red, black, or discolored patches
  • Swelling, lumps, bumps, or odd growths that are not found on both sides of the mouth
  • Excessive or spontaneous bleeding or puss coming out of a lesion or open sore
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Difficulty or pain when moving the jaw or tongue
  • A constant feeling that something is stuck in your throat
  • Continuous pain in the ear
  • A persistent headache

When to See a Doctor

Make an appointment with a dentist or oral surgeon if you have any persistent signs and symptoms that bother you and last more than two weeks. It's important to get any spots checked out as well.

What Can I Expect to Find During My Home Examination?

Before I show you how to do a cancer check at home, I want to explain some things you may find in your mouth during your examination that are normal. Oral health is a complex subject, and I can't touch on everything, but here's what you can expect to find:

  • Linea Alba
  • Parotid Papillae
  • Fordyce Granules
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Exostoses
  • Aphthous Ulcer
  • Circumvallate Papillae

Read on to learn about what each thing looks like and why it's normal.

Linea Alba

This appears as thin white lines inside your cheeks. This is a normal, hyper-keratinized area where you bite your cheeks, or where your cheeks rest between your teeth. The thin line will follow the biting plane or the area where your teeth meet.

Linea alba is normal and is nothing to worry about.
Linea alba is normal and is nothing to worry about. | Source

Parotid Papillae

Also known as Stensen's duct, parotid papillae can be found inside your cheeks, toward the front of your mouth. It is a bump of extra tissue on the inside of each corner of your mouth. (You may sometimes bite them by accident.) These bumps are an outlet for your saliva glands and are normal, unless they are particularly hard.

Fordyce Granules

These are tiny white or yellowish-white spots on the inside of your cheeks or lips. They are nothing more than ectopic sebaceous glands, which are completely normal.

Fordyce granules are a normal finding.
Fordyce granules are a normal finding. | Source

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Swollen lymph nodes are often associated with illness or inflammation. If the swelling doesn't go away within a week or two, see a doctor. Places where lymph nodes are located include: the front and back of your neck; in front and behind your ears; in the cheek area; and on top of your shoulders. When swollen, they will often be sensitive or sore and may be visible.


This is an extra bone growth commonly found under the tongue along the bony ridge, or on the hard palate. These growths may bulge out and are often rounded, sometimes involving a few bony lumps in one mass. The ones under the tongue are often found on each side of the face, while the ones on the hard palate are often singular.

Aphthous Ulcer

Also known as a canker sore, this is a small to medium, round ulcer. It usually has a white interior and a bright red border. They are very sensitive and can affect your oral hygiene and eating. They should go away within a week or two. Taking zinc will help speed up this process and will also help prevent future canker sores. If the ulcer does not go away within two weeks, you should contact your dentist.

An aphthous ulcer (canker sore) is a normal finding.
An aphthous ulcer (canker sore) is a normal finding. | Source

Circumvallate Papillae

These are large, protruding bumps on the back of the tongue arranged in a V shape. They are the largest of the four types of taste buds, and most people have about 10 to 14 of them.

Circumvallate papillae (taste buds) - normal finding
Circumvallate papillae (taste buds) - normal finding | Source

How to Check for Oral Cancer at Home

1. Check Your Lips

Use bi-digital palpation (pictured below), a tactile method of oral examination in which you use your thumb and forefinger to rule out abnormalities, to feel for any hard lumps or areas of soreness. Pinch your lip by placing your pointer finger on the inside of your mouth, and your thumb on the outside. Apply moderate pressure, pressing the lip tissue between your finger and thumb.

Illustration depicting bi-digital palpation.
Illustration depicting bi-digital palpation.

2. Check Your Cheeks

Use bi-digital palpation to feel your cheeks. Feel for any hard lumps or areas of soreness.

3. Check the Floor of Your Mouth

Use bimanual palpation (pictured below) to feel the floor of your mouth, which is the area under your tongue. Place the pointer finger of one hand under your tongue, while pressing up with the thumb of the other hand on the outside of the jaw. Directly oppose the finger in your mouth. Feel for any hard lumps or areas of soreness. Press firmly.

Illustration of bimanual palpation.
Illustration of bimanual palpation.

4. Check Your Tongue

Use bi-digital palpation to feel your tongue. Stick your tongue out and palpate the body of the tongue, feeling for lumps or areas of soreness.

5. Examine the Surface of Your Tongue for Blemishes

Stick your tongue out, grab the tip, and look at each side for any anomalies. The sides of the tongue are the most common places to find oral cancer. Don't confuse varicosities, also known as veins, for something abnormal.

You may also see circumvallate papillae, which are large bumps at the back of the tongue. These are normal. If you notice they are enlarged, don't panic. This can be due to a number of reasons that aren't due to cancer. This includes a viral infection, an allergic reaction, a high-grade fever, a tissue injury, or a nutritional deficiency. However, circumvallate papillae may turn into a cancerous form if it grows enough to get involved with lymph nodes of that region, so it's important to talk to your doctor or dentist if you notice a change.

6. Say, "Ahh"

Stick your tongue out, say "Ahh," and look at your oropharyngeal area, also known as your tonsils, for any inflammation or sores. It is normal for some people's tonsils to have indented pockets in them. Look for features that seem inflamed or out of place, as this is not normal.

7. Check the Roof of Your Mouth

Tilt your head back and look at the roof of your mouth. Look for sores and inflammation. Rule out any burns you may have acquired from eating food that is too hot.

8. Check Your Gums

Pull out your lips and look very closely at your gums. Are there sores on your gums or patches of discolored tissue? Do your gums bleed when you lightly touch them or when they are not provoked at all?


If you notice anything that is concerning, take a picture (if you can) and compare it in a week or two.

How to Self Check for Oral Cancer

What Are the Risk Factors of Mouth Cancer?

Known risk factors include tobacco and alcohol consumption, which, together, are responsible for about 75 percent of this type of cancer.

"There is a relationship between smoking and alcohol that has been well established. However, now there is also a correlation between HPV and throat or tonsillar cancer in younger people," says Dr. Eleczko.

Other factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Chewing betel nut
  • Drinking alcohol
  • The HPV-16 virus
  • Aging
  • Chronic mouth irritation
  • Poor oral hygiene

How Can I Prevent Oral Cancer?

  • Stop using tobacco or don't start.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation or don't drink at all.
  • See your dentist regularly.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun. Repeated exposure increases the risk of cancer on the lip, especially the lower lip.

Treatment Options


This involves surgical removal of the tumor and a little bit of healthy tissue around it. If the tumor is small, this surgery will likely be minor, but for a bigger tumor, this could involve the removal of some of the tongue or parts of the jaw.

Radiation Therapy

Oral cancer is especially sensitive to radiation therapy and may be the only necessary treatment for those with early-stage cancer. However, it may also be used in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy if the cancer is more advanced.


If the cancer is more widespread, chemotherapy may be used.

Oral Cancer Facts and Statistics

  • Oral cancer is a common cancer of global concern.
  • Early detection has the potential to significantly reduce death and morbidity.
  • There is an alarming increase in oropharyngeal cancer cases seen in the 18 to 40 age group.
  • Oral cancer is usually completely painless in its early stages.
  • 8,000 people in the US will die of oral cancer this year.
  • 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year.
  • Of the 40,000 people diagnosed, only 57% will still be alive in five years.
  • Approximately $3.2 billion is spent on oral cancer in the US per year.
  • Worldwide, 640,000 people will be diagnosed this year.
  • Late stage discovery is not the exception, it is the norm.
  • Discovery of oral cancer at a late stage usually means it has already spread to the larynx and other secondary locations.
  • When discovered at a late stage, the chance of a recurrence is multiplied 20-fold for the next ten years.
  • Around 90% of oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, originating in the tissues that line the mouth and lips.

Source: Oral Cancer Foundation

Will you start checking yourself for oral cancer?

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Do you know anyone who has had oral cancer?

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This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

  • I have one small spot on the right side lower corner, feels like a little round ball. It doesn't hurt, but could it be mouth cancer and should I be alarmed?

    That could just be a plugged minor salivary gland, a mucocele, or salivary duct stone. It could be a lot of things. Without a more in-depth analysis of its size (mm), color, contour, consistency, and texture, there are many possibilities.

  • Which type of doctor should I consult if I have concerns about mouth cancer?

    Start with the easiest: ask your dental hygienist to take a look. S/he will either find it as a normal finding, or ramp it up to the next level and show it to the doctor (dentist.) If the doctor suspects something, they will refer you, often, to an oral pathologist. They may do a brush biopsy under some circumstances, etc. But in my experience, most patients who came to me with concerns just have a normal finding, or even an abnormal finding that isn't harmful. I have caught oral cancer, too. Your dental hygienist should be doing an oral cancer screening on you at every visit free of charge.

  • What could a rough spot on my soft palate be?

    A rough spot on your soft palate could be caused by some chronic habit where friction is causing a callous. It could also be caused by mechanical food abrasion or other trauma. If it changes size, begins to exude blood or pus, or becomes painful, go to your dentist right away. Otherwise, ask your dental hygienist to take a look at your next oral healthcare visit.

  • Recently, my whole mouth started feeling very dry. The insides of my mouth were almost stuck to my teeth if I didn’t talk, eat or drink anything for a half hour or so. Then the inside if my mouth started hurting. This morning I woke up and noticed the bottom of my tongue, on each side, had several white, almost wormy looking things protruding down in a row. I can’t find anything describing this anywhere. What could this be?

    I'm wondering if you've switched toothpaste or mouthwash brands recently? The "white, almost wormy looking things" sound a bit like rolled-up skin that's sloughed off. This is a common allergic reaction to SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) found in many toothpaste brands. This type of tissue sloughing (if that's what it is) commonly takes place beneath the tongue. An SLS reaction would also explain the painful, dry mouth before noticing the sloughed skin. I don't have an image to go by, but this is my best guess with the information given. If that's the case, discontinue use of any SLS-containing oral health products.

  • Should I be concerned about bumps on both sides of my tongue, as related to this article and mouth cancer?

    They're likely large and toward the posterior (back) of the tongue. If they're a v-shape on top of the tongue: Circumvallate papillae are simply a type of taste bud on the tongue. Large bumps on the sides of the tongue could be lingual tonsils if they've become swollen. Again, without a more in-depth analysis of its size (mm), color, contour, consistency, and texture, there are many possibilities.

© 2013 Kate P


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    • profile image


      2 months ago

      I have a big bumb next to my tonsil just on one side it hasn’t been there one it constantly feels like there’s something stuck in my throat even when I try to swallow it’s all one lump but it look like there three indents in it?

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      2 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      @Soneyyah, Please head to your regional hospital to get assessed. @Angelo, Try switching to oral products that do not contain SLS.

    • profile image

      Soneyyah Ojenya 

      2 months ago

      I have a mass growing by my cheek side and it's not round. It's hanging and gets bigger everyday, really painful. It is white by the tip. Please what is it cos where I live doesn't have a dentist

    • profile image


      3 months ago

      Hi, I recently have been concerned, because i have loose/peeling skin in the inside corners of my lips, to the point where if anything rubs it it will fall off, Ive had it for a week now. Is this a sign of anything or it it normal?

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      4 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      @Jalynn, When given the right general circumstances to thrive, any chronic inflammation in the mouth can eventually lead to the development of oral cancer.

    • profile image

      Jalynn Norwood 

      4 months ago

      Can canker sores turn into mouth cancer?

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      4 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      If you think you're having issues, go see your dentist or oral pathologist right away. I can't stress that enough. This site is for informational purposes, not diagnosis or treatment of any kind.

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      I'm feeling like something stuck in my throat or below that from last 2 months i don't what it's but I'm not feeling good from this i cant study i don't what happens it comes and goes and thr are large bumps inside toung please answer someone

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      Small non painful white kinda translucent bump on bottom middle of my tongue. Not growing in size but not going down either.

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      4 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      Hey All! I strongly suggest that if you're worried enough to post your symptoms here, and you read this entire article and didn't find an answer - Please head straight to your dentist to get checked out in person. Nothing can be determined through distance or descriptions, and I hope you'll seek care with a dentist in your area!

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      I have some red dots on the roof of my mouth and my throat feels dry and numb and the roof looks Really textured, it’s been like this for like 3 weeks now

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      I have enlarged papillae on the right side of my tongue (where my wisdom tooth is, I have a pericoronitis since 3 years). One lump is also at the back of the tongue, almost on the tonsil.

      Also I have found like 2-3 grey-white spots, about 2-3 mm in size, which are on the very back of the tonsils, almost not visible anymore with the normal eye, which are also hardened. I have visited my doctor but she said it was no reason for concern. Still I am concerned that she might have overlooked something. I'm afraid there might be more of these spots deeper down the throat, where I can't reach with my eyes.

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      I can see my fungiform papillae with my naked eye through glass but it doesn’t painful, it’s full the tips of my tongue and side and back

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      I have a red blister like bump on the inside of my cheek...

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      9 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      Most of the questions posed to me here can be answered with a simple piece of advice. My advice is: if it worries you enough that you want to actively ask me questions about it, then go into your dentist and get it checked out in person. Dentistry is a very visual practice, and it's impossible to give accurate readings from a keyboard. When in doubt, go in! It's not gonna kill you, but it could save your life!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 months ago from Sunny Florida

      This is an excellent, very informative article. I am a RN, but I didnot know much of this informations and it is appreciated.

    • profile image


      11 months ago

      I have a bump on the bottom of my lip but it’s not painful what do you think it is and should I go check it out

    • profile image


      11 months ago

      I have a small white bump on inner part of the cheeks towards front of mouth . From the article it seems to be paratoid papillae but I am not sure . It doesn’t pain while I press it .

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      I appreciate your time and help!

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      14 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      @CJ, Just as a heads-up, I recommend taking anything regarding the mouth to oral health specialists instead of general doctors or hospital staff. Generalists have a poor track record of catching oral diseases of all kinds, including cancer. That said, this could of course be a few things, and if you really want to know, head to your dentist. It sounds like it could simply be a squamous cell papilloma, caused by human papillomavirus (HPV.) This can present as a benign skin-colored lesion on the tongue. Another possibility is that one or a few of the taste buds on your tongue have become inflamed. With the small amount of information given, it's hard to say. But if it concerns you, if anything about the lesion changes at all, or if it persists for more than a few weeks, definitely head to your local dentist to get it checked out.

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      I have developed a single hard white lump on the surface of my tongue, nearly an inch from the tip. It is entirely painless. It grew to the point I was able to twist the top part of it off; again no sensation. I went to the doctor but she kind of just glossed over it. I've had it for 4 weeks now, and it's not going away so it can't be normal. I'm concerned that it may the start of a cancerous growth, although I understand they usually begin on the sides of the tongue, not the top. Should I get a second opinion? What else might it be?

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      14 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      @Kate B, Chronic smokers often experience something called nicotine stomatitis, but generally we see this specifically on the hard palate. In this condition the palate will be white, with lots of little red dots / petechiae. Leukoplakia is a lesion that can occur due to chronic irritation from smoking. Aged leukoplakia can feel rough, and can be found in the areas you mention. Like its cousin erythroplakia, leukoplakia is considered a pre-cancerous lesion and should be watched closely by dental professionals. Smoker's melanosis presents as brown spots within the tissues of chronic smokers, such as on your tongue. Smoking permanently stimulates melanin production in those areas. However, you can reverse it if you quit. Generally the spots will disappear within 5 years. Given all of the potentials and all the unknowns here, I think you should go in and have a thorough oral cancer screening just in case.

    • profile image

      Kate B 

      14 months ago

      Hi. I feel a rough patch on the inside of my cheek, which is lightly coloured yellow and has a red spot. I am also finding several distinct brown spots on the tip of my tongue, and lighter red/brown spots on the sides of my tongue . All painless, but the patch on the inside of my cheek is the most worrying to me. I am a light but regular smoker, (definitely quitting now though). Is this something to worry about?

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      14 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      @Sarah C, I think the answer is obvious, considering the novella you just wrote about your symptoms. Go in to your dentist and get it all checked out.

    • profile image

      Sarah C 

      14 months ago

      Hey there, this is probably me just being paranoid, but lately I'm wondering if there's anything actually to be concerned about or not. Just for some background I've always had really bad acid reflux from when I was a child and about 5 days ago I got a really bad dose of reflux, which I recover pretty smoothly from. However this time about a day later I get a real painful ulcer at the tip of my tongue and the feeling that some kind of furball is lodged in my throat. I didn't think anything of it at the time until I suddenly kept getting ulcers on my tongue, and it became incredibly painful and uncomfortable even if my tongue was simply resting. This went on for a couple of days and got worse, not to mention inflammed my papillae, and I am now having slight issues tasting anything, though only to a small degree. I checked this morning and noticed I have a quite thick yellow/white coating on my tongue and behind that large bumps pale white in the center leading down my throat (Not in a V shape as far as I can see, may I mention but may still be the same thing) never saw them until today, and also have similar bumps along the sides of my tongue. I've also experienced pain in moving my tongue and a mild pain when swallowing, throat lozenges aren't making much of a difference unfortunately. Should I get this checked out or will it likely pass? Sorry for the large explanation

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      15 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      @Jamie Sewell, It sounds, minimum, like you've got a chronic inflammation issue in that area. Even though the mouth tissues heal rapidly, sometimes it's difficult to stop re-agitating an inflamed area due to talking, eating, etc. Canker sores can develop due to chronic inflammation, although clustering might mean it's something viral. I would recommend, for the moment, sucking on lots of zinc lozenges throughout the day (don't chew; place next to inflamed areas and let them dissolve.) Try that for a week. If you don't see any improvements, find it difficult to eat or drink, or if your symptoms worsen, head into your dentist right away.

    • Jamie Sewell profile image

      Jamie Sewell 

      15 months ago

      I cut the inside of my cheek with my fingernail about 1 month ago, now the inside of my cheek is like one huge canker sore and it seems to be spreading towards my lip, on the inside only and these are little white sores. I have swished peroxide and when I do this the whole side bubbles up from it. What could this be?

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      22 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      @Teri, Sorry I can't be of more help, but I'm not sure. There are thousands of things it could be, but if they've taken a biopsy then you should have your answers soon. I'd be curious to know what you find out.

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      22 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      @Veeranag, Without a more in-depth analysis of its size (mm), color, contour, consistency, and texture, there are many possibilities. I suggest you go to a Dentist. Just based on the little information you've given (yellow patches), it sounds a little like fordyce granules (ectopic sebaceous glands), which are often a yellow color. Again, there's too little information to go on here. Go see a dentist as soon as possible.

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      Hi all,

      I am suffering lite yellow patches on inside cheek since last two months...I don't have any pain.i went to ENT specialist he took blood tests....And too he found my AEC count is range between 40-440 but I have 474....He said allegry....But still I have doubt again i went to another MS ENT he said I 100% assure it's not a cancer......He gave me capsuls but still no recovery ....Again I went MD general physican he has 40 years experience...He also gave capsules for 20 days.....Can you please guide me any what is this that oral cancer?

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      22 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      It could be a number of things. It's hard to say what it could be without a more descriptive explanation of the contour, consistency, shape, and size. Meanwhile maintain an anti-inflammatory diet (no meat, dairy sugar, or gluten.)

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      I recently had a biopsy on a white bump towards the back of my tongue by the big taste buds if not on one of the big taste buds. It is white looks like a big pimple or cyst. After removal it became bigger and painful I am waiting on results of biopsy. What could that be.?

    • profile image

      Audray J Keller 

      2 years ago

      I have always bitten the inside of my cheek. Usually end up peeling some skin off but heels within a day or 2. I while back I noticed a sore and it's not painfully feels like I cld pull the skin off top of it but it hasn't heeled itself. I have been very stressed the last yr and I do smoke. Is this something to worry about? Not painful. And no on in my family has had be4

    • profile image

      Bernadette Hollywood 

      2 years ago

      Thank you good information.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Very informative. I've had oral cancer screening & was told I was OK. However, I have a persistant painful hard pimple inside the underlying rt. gum area. It gets infected with an abcess often & I've taken strong anti-biotics. Was diagnosed as Oral Neuroma? I also have a similar one in the lower rt. palette. that was diagnosed as an ulcer? Reading your info is educational & causes deep concern. Will be checking this out further.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      hi i have a small what looks like scratch on my my front gum. i have'nt scratched it and it doesnt just appeared...had it a few months...what could it be?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      hello, im 26 been chewing off an on for about 8yrs i recently quit smoking i smoked for 10yrs, ive noticed weird bumps on the side of my tongue near my wisdom teeth, with lots of pain, swollen tonsil an hurts to move my tongue, could this be a early sign?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Can oral cancer appear as matching ulcers on both sides of the back of the throat, just before the tonsils?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Thank you. Because of your article I will be going to my dentist to check for oral cancer. Didn't even know about that. Am always feeling like something is in my throat and always think it will go away.


    • profile image


      3 years ago

      pain on one side face tabacoo use s form 12years

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Useful information, thank you!

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      4 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Thanks for the comments, I appreciate them! Elsie, I'm glad you caught it early and happy you went in. Peachpurple, thanks.. the intention is to promote awareness, I guess it worked! :)

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      wonderful tips especially the photos, freaked me out

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      4 years ago from New Zealand

      Excellent article.

      I have just had a large lump removed from my top lip, (now only half of a top lip), I have had this lump about thirty years, but in the last year it started growing (very quickly) it was ACC cancer, which was very rare growing in the lip 9only twelve cases recorded in the world.

      We should always get lumps checked out.

      You are right about the doctor watching the clock instead of looking after the patient, my doctor say's if we have more than one health problem, make another appointment, which of course I never did, that is why this lump slipped by for so many years, (it was picked up because I had skin cancer on my nose), now my only hope is that cancer hasn't spread to other parts of my body through the nerve centre, living each day hoping all is well.

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      5 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Indeed, all modern hygiensts take multiple in-depth courses in oral pathology, histology, and so forth. However, there is a gap between learning it and putting it into practice. Many offices charge a fee for a cancer screening. My philosophy is that it's my ethical duty to conduct one at each and every appointment--and this includes a full head and neck exam as well. Whether the dentist charges a patient or not is not my concern, and has no bearing on the service that I render to my patients in this regard. Thanks for reading! :)

    • Whatsittoyou profile image


      5 years ago from Canada

      Are all hygienists trained to screen for oral cancer before they graduate or do they need to go for special training for it? If not, they should really make this a part of the training that they originally take.

    • ReviewsfromSandy profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Some disturbing photos. But very good information on how to check for cancer.

    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 

      5 years ago from Miami Florida

      Hello miss faceless39. I like your article.Visit to the Doctor is important as well the self examination. Your article provides with awareness of a terrible disease. It is sad and scary . The tongue is essential for our existence. I looked it up everyday when I clean my teeth. After looking at the picture in your hub . I am going to be extra careful. I like your hub. Thanks.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      This is a great hub. My dentist does an examine similar to what you suggest every time I go in for a cleaning. Nice work.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Extra bone growth (single = torus; plural = tori) is commonly found under the tongue along the bony ridge, or on the hard palate.

      i have also this condition

    • cyoung35 profile image

      Chad Young 

      6 years ago from Corona, CA

      Great hub. If this helps one person you've done a great service to make people aware of oral cancer. Maybe some day we'll have a cure for cancer, but until then we need to be proactive.

    • Sonja Larsen profile image

      Sonja Larsen 

      6 years ago from Orange County, California

      This was a very-well written and helpful article. Crazy pics too! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      6 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Very helpful and informative article on oral cancer and what to look for.

    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      Leah Kennedy-Jangraw 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Very informative, easy to follow article. Great use of links, pictures, and stats. Thanks for sharing this information and how-to.

      Voted up and sharing.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      6 years ago from Long Island, NY

      This is a very well-done and very complete explanation of how to check for oral cancer. I'm surprised that doctors don't perform this check in a normal annual physical. It's great that you have made the effort to spread the awareness of oral cancer.

    • Faceless39 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate P 

      6 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Thank you all for the positive feedback. My goal is to spread awareness of this disease, and it looks like so far it's working. I appreciate your comments!

    • profile image

      Aida Garcia 

      6 years ago

      Excellent article, well-written and very precise! Follow me!

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Very well written and detailed article, quite a handy guide for detecting any possible signs of oral cancer. Up and useful.

    • The Reminder profile image

      The Reminder 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Nice ways to quickly check out if there are any signs of the cancer. Voted up.

    • leakeem profile image


      6 years ago from Earth

      It's the first time I heard of Oral Cancer. Nice to know that there's a quick way to check it. Voted up!

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      Very well written and thorough article on checking for oral cancer. The photo's really help make this easy to read and understand. Hit many buttons and voted up.


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