We don’t often hear much about oral cancer, however did you know that it’s responsible for one death every hour? There will be close to 50,000 people diagnosed with it this year, and roughly only half of those folks will still be alive in five years. These are not great numbers, and they really haven’t improved over the years because oral cancer is often hard for people to detect it its early stages. When it’s found in its advanced stages, it’s often moved to the lymph nodes leaving you with a less positive prognosis. April is oral cancer awareness month, and your dentist in Sewell wants to discuss prevention.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is considered a disease that develops in the head and neck region, except for the brain, which has its own category of cancer. Oral cancer manifests in many different ways and it doesn’t typically produce much pain in the early stages, and this is why it’s often diagnosed late. Symptoms to look for are:
- Lumps in your mouth or neck
- Lesions or sores that don’t heal within 14 days
- Pain when you swallow, chew, or speak
- Numbness in your face or mouth
Oral cancer also has a high rate of reoccurrence, which means if you suffer from it once, you have a higher risk of developing it again.
Prevention is Your First Defense
Believe it or not, your dentist is often able to detect this deadly disease earlier than you can, and this is why routine six-month visits are so important. With early detection, you have a much better chance of successfully treating oral cancer. At Connolly Family Dentistry, we use special technology that utilizes a fluorescent light to identify abnormal tissues or changes in your mouth throat and soft tissues.
Your home care routine is also a great time to monitor any changes you might notice in your mouth. If you notice a sore or lesion, be sure to contact your dentist in Sewell right away if it doesn’t seem to be healing.
There are also lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing oral cancer such as quitting smoking or tobacco use. Reducing or eliminating your alcohol consumption also helps. The combination of both smoking and drinking alcohol actually increases your risk of developing it by 15%.
Contact Connolly Family Dentistry
Your health is too important to ignore! If it’s time for your routine cleaning and checkup, please call Connolly Family Dentistry today to get your appointment scheduled.