Cancer Detection: Monitoring Your Mouth, Tongue, And Throat (71, 72)

Monitoring your body regularly can help spot cancer early and save your life

Knowing the signs & symptoms is half the battle! It is important that you monitor your body to detect any red flags for early cancer detection.


Monthly, or if you notice a sign or symptom, repeat test every couple days.


  • Know the oral signs and symptoms for early cancer detection
  • Know what your face typically looks like
  • Mirror
  • Flashlight
  • Camera
  • 2×2 or 3×3 gauze


  • Rinse your mouth and throat to remove all particles and ensure no food, liquid, or candy coloring exist.
  • Position yourself in front of a mirror with bright light, a camera, and a flashlight.
  • Remove dentures.
  • Open mouth. Look in the mirror to ensure no coloring from food, liquids, or candy is present.
  • Look at your face in the mirror to see any visual changes.
  • Press along the sides and front of the neck and feel for tenderness or lumps. Do the same on your face. Take note of any bumps or swelling.
  • Pull your upper lip up and look for sores and color changes on your lips and gums. Repeat this procedure on your lower lip.
  • Use your fingers to pull out your cheeks and look for color changes such as red, white, or dark patches. Put your index finger on the inside and your thumb on the outside of your cheeks to feel for any lumps. Repeat on the other cheek.
  • Tilt your head back and open your mouth wide to see if there are lumps, spots, or color changes in the back of your throat.
  • Grab your tongue with cotton gauze and examine for swellings or color changes. Look at the top, back, and each side of your tongue.
  • Touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue and look at the underside of your tongue and the floor of your mouth. See if there are color changes or lumps. When possible, use one finger inside your mouth and one finger on the outside, corresponding to the same place and feel for unusual bumps, swelling or tenderness.
  • Photograph any suspicious areas that are difficult to see.

Notice Something? Here’s What To Do Next:

  • Should you notice any changes, signs, or symptoms. consider them “red flags”. They do not mean you have cancer. Repeat test. If there is no improvement, contact your dentist or medical team for a professional evaluation.

Take action to spot cancer early and survive

Get reminder emails, tips, and resources to develop your spotting cancer habit when you join the Cancer Detection Squad.

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Download the guides below to develop your spot & survive habit

Increase the chances of successful treatment when you spot cancer early! Download the Oral Monitoring Guide and start monitoring your mouth, tongue, and throat today!

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Download the Complete Body Monitoring Guide to learn how to monitor your entire body for changes that might be symptomatic of cancer.

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Regular monitoring and testing is a life-saving habit. Save a Body Monitoring and Screening & Testing schedule to your Google Calendar or iCalendar to stay on track!

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