The 60 second health check that could save your life

All it takes is one minute and a few simple steps.

By the end of 2020 it’s estimated there will be 145,000 new diagnosed cancer cases.

Specifically, the number of diagnosed head and neck cancers has risen by 3.6% in Australia since 2016.

While there are cancer checks for more prominent types of cancer, doctors are warning that if other cancers aren’t checked for, they may go overlooked.

Researchers from The Head and Neck Cancer Foundation in the UK suggest that looking for mouth, neck and head cancers using a simple 60 second check could save your life, with early detection greatly improving survival rates.

Here’s how to perform a quick health check that could help catch cancer early.

Inspect your face

Start by looking for any kind of unusual swelling on your face.

"Inspect your skin, do you have any moles that have become larger or started to itch or bleed?” Michelle Vickers, CEO of The Head and Neck Cancer Foundation says.

"Don’t forget to turn your head from side to side, this stretches the skin over the muscles making lumps easier to see."

Feel your neck

The best way to do this is to run your fingers along your jaw and feel the large muscles either side of the neck.

Check for lumps, bumps and swollen areas taking note whether both sides feel the same.

Look at your lips

This can be added as a daily habit when brushing your teeth. Inspect the inside of your lips and along your gum line, once again looking for anything unusual.

"Any ulcers that have been hanging around or come back, changes in texture, or lumps and bumps need to be checked out by a medical professional," Michelle says.

Check out your cheeks

Look at the inside and the outside of your cheeks, feeling them with your fingers.

Again, you're looking for lumps, bumps, redness, ulcers or tenderness. Also ensure they feel the same on both sides.

Look up and open wide

Tilt your head back and look up and open your mouth. Monitor anything that seems unusual.

"You are looking for ulcers and also changes in colour and texture.

"If you do this once a week, you’ll spot if anything changes or looks unusual."

Focus no the tongue

The tongue can be one particular place of concern and high risk. Look at both the sides of the tongue carefully and check for red or white patches, numb spots or lumps.  

If you spot an abnormalities or areas of concern on any part of the head, neck or mouth, visit your GP or dentist.

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