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Oral Cancer Awareness Month

oral_cancerApril is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Is your practice offering free oral cancer screening? If you are we suggest using social media to support your effort – and please share on our DentalPlanet Facebook page also.

Oral cancer is not a rare disease. Approximately 37,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the U.S. It kills one person every hour of every day, and over 100 new individuals will be diagnosed with it each day. The good news is that it can often be found early in its development, through a simple, painless, and quick screening.

Who should get screened?

Every adult. Oral cancer can often be caught early, even as a pre-cancer. With early detection, survival rates are high and the side effects from treatment are at their lowest. Like other screenings you engage in such as cervical, skin, prostate, colon and breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages. Make them part of your annual health check-ups.

What are the risk factors?

There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long-term historic problem and cause, and the other is through exposure to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), a newly identified etiology, and the same one which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. The quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population are young, healthy, non-smokers due to the connection to this virus.

Image12Common Symptoms:

  • Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/eroded areas on the lips gums or other areas inside the mouth
  • Development of velvety white, red or speckled patches in the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness, pain or tenderness in any area of the face, mouth or neck
  • Persistent sores on the face, neck or mouth that do not heal within 2 weeks
  • Soreness or feeling of something caught in the back of the throat
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat or change in voice
  • Ear pain
  • Change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
  • Dramatic weight loss.
The Oral Cancer Foundation’s official website can provide more information: www.oralcancer.org

Thanks to webmd.com & Stephen J. Kane, DMD

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