Vic had a long history of smoking, he also had genital warts, Tina
had a history of multiple sexual partners and genital warts. (Gential warts are from HPV- Human Papilloma Virus which also
causes anal, penile and cervical cancers). These risks made it more likely that either would develop oral cancer and they
For Vic, it started as a small
area on his tongue he described as like a "wart'. Over time it enlarged. He skipped dental visits and when
he began to have speech changes he finally mentioned it to his doctor. Half his tongue was removed to to get rid
of the cancer. Surgery and therapy has been a success.
For Tina, it began with a pulled tooth that did not heal. After several weeks, she returned to the dentist and an
xray showed a progressive erosion of bone under where the tooth had been. It was cancer. Half of her jaw was removed and replaced
with a portion of her hip bone. New specially fitted dentures have normalized her speech and eating.
But, how nice if they had caught the problem sooner and had more localized surgery?
Perform a six-step
oral cancer self-exam each month.
Using a bright light and a mirror:
2 Look and feel inside the lips and the front of gums
3 Tilt head
back to inspect and feel the roof of your mouth
4 Pull the cheek out to see its inside
surface as well as the
back of the gums
5 Pull out
your tongue and look at all of its surfaces
6 Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes (glands)
in both sides
of the neck including under the lower jaw