Close to 53,000 Americans are going to be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. One person dies each hour because of it. Other types of cancer may be more common, but oral cancer is often more deadly. Just like mammograms and other cancer examinations, oral cancer screenings are just as important. Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we want raise awareness of the consequences of oral cancer when left unchecked and undiagnosed. Read on for risk prevention and information about screenings from your dentist in Hulen.
Signs of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can be described as cancer developing in any part of your mouth including the lips and cheeks. Symptoms and signs that could signify oral cancer include:
- Red and white sores in your mouth
- Lip or mouth wounds that won’t heal
- Growths or lumps in your mouth
- Loose teeth
- Mouth pain
- Ear pain
- Uncomfortable swallowing
If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms or signs, especially if they last more than two weeks, immediately schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention
Some factors that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol use
- Exposing lips to excessive amounts of sun
- Human Papillomavirus or HPV
- Weakened immune system
While there’s no proven way to definitively prevent oral cancer, there are some precautions you could take to reduce your risk of developing it, including:
- Either don’t start or try to quit using tobacco products. No matter whether you chew or smoke, it exposes your oral cells to cancer-causing chemicals.
- Cut back on your consumption of alcohol. It’s recommended that a healthy amount for adults to consume is about a drink a day. When you consume excessive amounts, it irritates the cells in your oral cavity and can lead to cancer.
- Seeing your dentist for your six-month regular checkups and cleanings is vital to identifying oral cancer symptoms early. Your dentist can help keep your health up-to-par while also providing you with oral cancer screening. Early detection and treatment means a higher chance of survival.
Caring for your oral health properly can prevent you from having to deal with the serious consequences that accompany oral cancer.
Your Oral Cancer Screening
So, what will your oral cancer screening with your dentist look like? During your screening, they’ll examine the inside of your mouth for any red and white sores. Using gloves, they’ll also feel the tissue around your cheeks and mouth in search of any lumps. ‘
Attending checkups and cleanings can help save your life. If you go to them regularly and do have oral cancer, you’re more likely to get an early diagnosis and have a better chance of survival. Once your cancer has begun to spread throughout your body, your odds drop drastically. Recognize Oral Cancer Awareness Month by getting a screening and knowing you’re cancer-free!
About the Author
Dr. Renee Corbitt enjoys serving a diverse group of patients aging anywhere from 1 to 92. She’s passionate about staying up-to-date with dental advancements by taking continuing education courses and seminars that give her access to new treatment options and concepts. As an active member of 8 different dental academies and societies, her passion for learning and dentistry are apparent. For any questions or to schedule a six-month checkup and cleaning, visit her website or contact her office at 817-294-8821.