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Oral Cancer Awareness

Check your palate for discolorations

Oral cancer screening is a way to detect early oral cancer.  Self-screening in addition to regular check-ups with your doctor and dentist are good ways to stay healthy.  Higher-risk individuals include those who smoke and have heavy alcohol use. Self-examination should include the following steps:

1. Check your neck from behind the ear all the way down to your collar bone then up along your throat area to under your jaw for lumps, bumps or lymph node

2.  Check your lips and round the mouth for any discolored areas and feel for any lumps or bumps.

3. Check and feel around the inside of your cheeks and lips for lumps and bumps or discolorations.

4. Check the floor of your mouth under your tongue using two hands and two fingers one in your mouth, the other hand placed under your jaw in the soft tissue area. Look inside for any discolorations.

5. Check your palate by feeling the roof of your mouth for any lumps bumps or lymph nodes and look for discolorations.

6. Say "Ahhh"  and look in the mirror with good lighting make sure your soft palate ( the uvula or dangling piece of tissue in the middle towards the back of your throat) moves and the tissue around it moves equally and there are no discolorations.

The bottom line is to check yourself for lumps, bumps, or lymph nodes and any lesions that are red, white, or blue that persist for more than 2 weeks.

If you find anything usual don't hesitate to contact your dentist or physician for follow-up examination or tests if necessary.

If you have any questions please feel free to call us as well at 310-453-3747!


Kari L. Sakurai , D.D.S. Dr. Sakurai is on staff at UCLA Medical Center, St. John's Health, SM-UCLA Orthopedic Hospital, and at LAC+USC as Assistant Adjunct Professor of Clinical Dentistry. With over 25 years of clinical experience and teaching at cutting edge, Universities helps us deliver the evidence-based technology care to our patients.

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