Oral Cancer: Prevention and Early Diagnosis

The most common location for oral cancer is the floor of the mouth and tongue.This is why oral cancer is sometimes referred to as mouth cancer. Other sites are gums, lips, the inside of cheeks and rarely the palate.

Oral cancer, as well as many forms of cancer, is a delicate condition that must be treated by experts. Dentists are usually the first professionals to diagnose it by taking biopsies when slight changes are noticed. This reinforces the importance of routine check-ups because oral cancer tends to be extremely malignant and spreads rapidly to the lymph nodes of the neck.

Special attention must be paid when painless ulcers that won’t heal after 2 weeks are present on lips, because this is a typical sign of the most common type of oral cancer: squamous cell carcinoma. It is important to note that breast, kidney, prostate, thyroid and lung cancers can also spread towards the neck and head area.


  • Avoid sunlight exposure using high SPF lip balms for protection.
  • Visit the dentist every 6 months for diagnosis of pathologies.
  • Avoid habits like smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Keep alcohol ingestion moderate.
  • Implement a healthy lifestyle.

Some lesions in the mouth may seem harmless, but dentists are qualified to diagnose pathologies in their early stages. Certain characteristics raise suspicion of malignancy such as color, texture, location, shape, duration, evolution, bleeding, etc. Other underlying factors are taken into consideration such as the patient’s age, gender and habits.

If you are interested in an oral diagnosis for pathologies in Costa Rica, please fill out the “Help me find a Dentist!” form and a participating dental specialist will contact you to discuss your case.