April 23, 2019
Oral Cancer Awareness
Cancer is a disease that occurs when uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in the body occurs. These cells are referred to as cancerous and malignant. Oral cancer occurs on the lips (usually the lower lip), inside the mouth, salivary glands, tonsils, on the back of the throat, esophagus, and the tongue and soft tissues of the mouth.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and Oral Cancer Screenings are a routine part of dental examinations. As part of your daily oral hygiene routine, watch for changes in the soft tissues of your mouth especially sores that don’t heal within two weeks.
Be mindful of symptoms
1. A sore, or soreness or irritation that doesn’t go away.
2. Red or white patches, or pain, tenderness, or numbness in mouth or lips.
3. Lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas.
4. Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue.
5. A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth.
When it comes to symptoms, keep this two-three week time period in mind, but always call your dentist right away if you have any immediate concerns.
Be aware of the symptoms and risk factors of oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Early detection and treatment may well be the key to a complete recovery.
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.
If you have never had an oral cancer examination, there is no better time to schedule one than during Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April. When you do, be sure to ask that this examination be made a routine part of all of your future dental check-ups.