April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014, 6:27 pm

April is oral cancer awareness month for a good reason – this year almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer.

The American Dental Association, the Oral Cancer Foundation and other groups have joined together to sponsor Oral Cancer Awareness month for the past 14 years in an effort to remind everyone of the importance of screening for oral cancer. As far as cancer screenings go — this one is easy! No big, cold imaging machines or surgical suites required – you just need to visit your dentist!

Oral cancer screenings are a part of your regular routine dental exam. Early detection of oral cancers is especially important. the 5-year survival rate of these cancers is only about 64%. Unfortunately this grim statistic reflects the fact that most cases of oral and throat cancers are not discovered until they are at an advanced stage. Early detection means a much easier course of treatment and a much higher success rate.

In between your dental visits here are some things to watch out for. If any of these symptoms persist longer than two weeks call your dentist immediately.

  • A mouth sore or irritation that doesn’t heal
  • White or red patches in the mouth
  • Pain, tenderness or swelling
  • Thick or crusty patches, a rough spot or a lump
  • Sore throat
  • Problems chewing or swallowing
  • An unexplained change in your bite

Oral cancers used to be seen in older men who smoked or drank. While being over 50, combined with alcohol and tobacco use are still risk factors for the disease, we are seeing more and more young people develop oral cancers. The reason for the rise in oral cancers appears to be the HPV virus. If you know you have been infected with HPV then you need to be especially vigilant about screening for oral cancers.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 today to schedule your next visit.

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Category: oral health, Tongue Health

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