Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

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Oral cancer usually occurs on the tongue or lips, however it can also be found on your gum tissue, lining of the cheeks, the roof of your mouth and soft palate.  Most of the cases of oral cancer are squamous cell carcinomas.

STATS:  Oral (mouth) and pharyngeal (throat) cancer is diagnosed almost 40,000 times just in the USA every year.  There is a high death rate with this type of cancer mainly because it is detected late and has already metastasized.

RISK FACTORS:  The main risk factors for developing oral cancer are a history of using tobacco products. Which includes: cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and chewing tobacco as well.  About 25% of the people that have developed oral cancer have NO history of tobacco use.  Additionally, Alcoholism significantly increases the risk of developing oral or mouth cancer.

Another risk factor is sun exposure, especially on the lower lip.

SYPTOMS:  Some possible symptoms of cancer are: a lump or bump, non-healing ulcers or sores, and problems with controlling your tongue; such as swallowing or speaking.  Other symptoms can include pain and numbness.  Oral cancer usually starts small and is white or red spots in the mouth.

PREVENTION AND DETECTION:  The best way to prevent is to avoid.  Do not use tobacco products, and avoid unprotected sun exposure.  Go to a dentist that examines the entire mouth as well as your teeth.  There are several new technologies that can help with early detection of oral cancer right at your dental office.  Both the Velscope and Vizalite can be used.  Also, have your dermatologist check your lips, and mouth when they are doing your full body skin check.

You may not be at high risk of developing oral cancer but your husband may.  So get checked out by your regular dentist, ENT, or dermatologist.

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