Oral cancer is a deadly disease that can affect anyone, though certain lifestyle choices or genetic predispositions can increase the risk. It’s estimated that in 2021, over 48,500 Americans will be diagnosed with it. While it is a serious condition, there are ways to test for and detect signs of oral cancer at home. In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about testing for oral cancer at home, including the warning signs to look for, the importance of seeking help quickly if you have any concerns, and different tests that can do at home.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in the United States today. While it can affect anyone, some are at a higher risk than others, such as those with a family history of the disease or using tobacco products. Knowing the warning signs of oral cancer can help you to detect it early, increasing your chances of successful treatment and reducing the severity of any symptoms. Here are some common signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Sores or lumps in the mouth that don’t heal
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Pain or difficulty when swallowing
- Sore throat that doesn’t go away
- Changes in your voice (hoarseness, for example)
- Unexplained weight loss
Why Is It Important To Seek Help Quickly?
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek help quickly. Oral cancer is a serious condition and can be fatal if left untreated. It’s also important to remember that many other conditions can cause these same symptoms, so there may not be anything wrong. However, the only way to know for sure is to get checked by a doctor.
Testing At Home
While it’s important to see a doctor if you notice any warning signs, there are some tests you can do at home. Here are a few examples:
One of the best ways to test for oral cancer at home is to do a self-examination. This involves looking in the mirror and using your hands to feel around your lips, cheeks, and tongue for any lumps or bumps that don’t seem normal. Make sure to use a lighted magnifying mirror to get a better view of any potential abnormalities.
Testing With A Cotton Swab
If you find any suspicious bumps or lumps, you can use a cotton swab to test them. Take the swab and lightly brush it across the area in question. If there is any bleeding or discomfort, this could be a sign of oral cancer, and you should seek medical attention immediately.
Using A UV Light
Another way to test for oral cancer at home is to use a special UV light. This light can help you detect any abnormalities in the mouth that may not be visible to the naked eye, such as early-stage cancers or pre-cancerous tissue. It’s important to note that this is not a substitute for a complete exam by a doctor.
Testing for oral cancer at home can be beneficial in detecting potential warning signs of the disease early and getting treatment quickly. However, it’s important to remember that these tests are not substitutes for seeing a doctor. If you have any concerns about your health, seek medical help immediately.
- What are the warning signs of oral cancer?
The most common warning signs of oral cancer include sores or lumps in the mouth that don’t heal, unexplained bleeding in the mouth, pain or difficulty when swallowing, a sore throat that doesn’t go away, changes in your voice (hoarseness, for example), and unexplained weight loss.
- Is it important to seek help quickly if I notice these symptoms?
Yes, it’s very important to seek help as soon as possible if you have any concerns about your health. Oral cancer is a serious condition and can be fatal if left untreated.
- What tests can I do at home to test for oral cancer?
You can do a self-examination, use a cotton swab to test the area in question, and use a special UV light to detect any abnormalities that may not be visible to the naked eye. However, these tests are not substitutes for seeing a doctor.