Oral Cancer

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Cancers of the mouth and oropharynx are among the most preventable cancers.

Since finding cancer early improves the chance for successful treatment, it is a good idea to see your dentist at least once a year. Be sure your dentist performs a mouth, head, and neck screening as part of each routine examination. You may also want to ask your doctor to perform a thorough head and neck exam during regular checkups.

Tell your dentist or doctor about any unusual or abnormal areas, sores, or bumps in your mouth. Between visits, use a mirror to check your mouth and oropharynx for unusual areas.

To minimize your risk of contracting mouth and oropharynx cancer:

  • Avoid tobacco in all forms.
  • Use alcohol in moderation.
  • Remove your dentures at night and clean them daily. Have them evaluated by a dentist at least every five years.
  • Limit sun exposure. Wear a lip balm with sunscreen and a hat with a brim.
  • Eat a well-rounded, healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Last reviewed on 6/4/09

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