You’ve likely heard of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September, but did you know that April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month? Although this type of cancer doesn’t get the same amount of attention as others, it can be just as deadly. This April, take a little bit of time to learn more about oral cancer and how you can help prevent and treat it by reading this post from your dentist in Sewell. You never know—maybe this information will save your life!
Facts about Oral Cancer
For the entire year of 2019, experts are predicting that 53,000 people will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States. Out of those patients, a little more than half will likely still be alive after five years. That equates to one death an hour every day from oral cancer.
Symptoms and Sign of Oral Cancer
In many ways, oral cancer can show itself in ways that are tricky to notice on your own. After all, when you look into your own mouth, you don’t have the clearest view. That’s why your dentist in Sewell can keep an eye out for these symptoms:
- White, red, or speckled patches of tissue.
- Lumps or bumps in the mouth, neck, or jaw.
- Numbness in the tongue.
- Patches of thickened tissue.
- Lip or mouth sores that don’t heal after two weeks.
Should you spot of these signs before your next dental checkup, contact your dentist or doctor right away for an evaluation.
Causes of Oral Cancer
Contrary to popular belief, tobacco and alcohol use is not the only risk factor for oral cancer, although it is the predominant one. Exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is responsible for most cervical cancers in women, is also a major risk factor. In less than 10 percent of cases, the cause of their oral cancer is unknown—perhaps from genetic disposition. Although not all oral cancer is preventable, you can take simple steps to reduce your odds of getting oral cancer by stopping bad habits like drinking and smoking and by visiting your dentist twice every year for dental checkups and cleanings.
Importance of Early Detection
The truth of the matter is that oral cancer has such a high mortality rate overall because it is often discovered during the later stages of development, when treatment comes a little too late. For those whose oral cancer is found and treated early on, their likelihood of survival jumps up to 90 percent. That’s why getting an oral cancer screening on a regular basis with your dentist is so critical. This test can lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment.
In the end, the few minutes it takes for your dentist to do the oral cancer screening during your dental checkup are worth it so that you can either have more peace of mind or a treatment plan to restore you to full health and wellness again. Because the sooner you find and address cancer, the better, these oral cancer screenings are important to fit into your schedule. If you haven’t had your dental checkup in a while, contact your dentist for one today!
About the Author
At Connolly Family Dentistry, patients of all ages in the Sewell area have access to not one but six experienced dentists, each with years of dental experience. Founded in 1979 by Dr. Christopher Connolly, the practice has retained its commitment to deliver quality results for each patient using the most innovative techniques and technology. To make an appointment with them, you can call (856) 245-5898 or click here.