April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month: Here’s What You Should Know

Your dentist wants you to feel secure about the health and well-being of your mouth. Help your dentist and his dedicated and friendly team observe Oral Cancer Awareness Month by booking a comprehensive oral exam. Your dental checkup will include palpating the tongue and tissues for lumps or bumps and noting any lesions, discolorations, sore spots or abnormal bleeding. Learn more about oral cancer below:
More than 21,000 men and 9,000 women in the United States annually receive oral cancer diagnoses, according to the National Cancer Institute. In 2013, there will be 41,380 new cases of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx in the U.S., resulting in 7,890 deaths, according to NCI.
Oral cancer can strike in the mouth and throat with most of these cancers beginning in the flat cells—squamous cells—that cover the surfaces of the mouth, tongue and lips. Some of the risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, infection with human papillomavirus, sun exposure, diet, betel nut use, and personal history of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Symptoms
Did you know that numbness along the chin and lower lip can be a little known symptom of oral cancer? Lip sores that do not heal, difficulty swallowing, loose teeth or unexplained mouth pain are more potential symptoms you don’t want to ignore. If you ever feel something unusual is occuring with your mouth, teeth, jaw, head or neck, immediately make an exam appointment. As you will read below, time is crucial when it comes to oral cancer:
Oral and pharyngeal cancer (cancer of the mouth and upper throat) collectively kills nearly one person every hour of every day of the year. Of the people newly diagnosed with these cancers, only about 60% will live longer than 5 years. Moreover, many who do survive suffer long-term problems such as severe facial disfigurement or difficulties eating and speaking. The death rate associated with oral and pharyngeal cancers remains particularly high due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. AAOMS has more excellent information

Stay On Top Of Your Oral Health
The best and easiest way to be proactive against oral cancer is have regular screenings. Don’t put off yours by wrongly assuming you’re not at risk. The following post has some eye-opening information you should definitely be aware of:
While smoking and tobacco use are still major risk factors, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus. We cannot stop this virus from spreading; our only hope to save lives is with professional involvement and public awareness. This is your opportunity to get involved and give back to your community in hopes to raise oral cancer awareness and the need for early detection in order to save lives. Together, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the world of oral cancers. Check out the Oral Cancer Foundation for additional info