What To Know For Oral Cancer Awareness Month This April
Oral cancer is a grim topic, but with an estimated 40,000+ people diagnosed every year in the United States, it is important to bring awareness to the risks, facts, and symptoms of this terrible disease.
Oral cancer refers to cancer found in any part of the mouth, including cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks and floor of the mouth. It can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early. Unfortunately, oral cancers are often not detected early because the symptoms can be painless, and many people are not aware of the disease. But the good news is that survival rate is high when oral cancers are found in the first stages. Awareness and early detection are key!
- White or red patches inside the mouth or on the lips
- Swelling, lumps, bumps, rough spots or eroded areas on the lips or inside the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Unexplained numbness or loss of feeling in mouth, face or neck
- Persistent sores in the mouth that do not heal within 14 days
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
The risk factors:
- Age: The disease usually occurs over the age of 40
- Gender: Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancers
- Lifestyle: Tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco, and heavy alcohol use
- Family or personal history: Those who have had oral cancer previously are at an increased risk of developing another oral cancer
- Excessive sun exposure
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
If you notice anything strange or unusual in your mouth, talk to your dentist about a fast, painless oral cancer screening.