Inspect the dorsum of the tongue.
The margins of the tongue are common areas for precancer or cancer and are easily missed by an incomplete examination.
- Retract the cheek with a finger, tongue blade, or mirror.
- Inspect the lateral margins of the tongue as far back as possible.
- Grasp the tip of the tongue with a gauze pad to facilitate this part of the examination.
- Posterolateral tongue margins are cancer-prone areas.