It Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
April is oral cancer awareness month and, if you are not familiar with the causes and symptoms of this disease, now is a great time to become more educated. About 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer each year, and more than 8,000 die annually. You have a much better chance of survival if you know the warning signs and visit a periodontist for annual screenings. Awareness and early diagnosis are paramount in overcoming this disease.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is the most common type of head and neck cancer, and it includes throat cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer and mouth cancer. Mortality rates for oral cancer are higher than for many common cancers simply because it is often detected only in its later stages after it has spread to other parts of the body. Oral cancer is especially dangerous because it may have few or no symptoms as it develops, and it disproportionately affects men and African Americans.
Potential Causes Of Oral Cancer
While oral cancer can strike anyone, you are particularly at risk if you meet one or more of the following risk factors:
- You are over the age of 40
- You use cigarettes or chewing tobacco
- You consume alcohol daily
- You are suffering from a viral infection
- You have a poor diet that is low in fruits and vegetables
Symptoms Of Oral Cancer
Although some patients with oral cancer may have no pain or symptoms, you should visit a periodontist if you are experiencing one or more of the following:
- A lesion in your mouth lasting longer than two weeks
- A hard lump in your cheek
- White or red splotches anywhere in your mouth
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing food
- Numbness in any area of your mouth, especially the tongue
- Having a chronic hoarse voice
Next Steps For Oral Cancer Screening
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or you would like to schedule an oral cancer screening, please contact our office today. Anthem Periodontics and Dental Implants lead Periodontist Dr. Ed De Andrade is an expert in recognizing and treating oral cancers, and he can perform an examination to locate any early sources of disease, as well as provide preventative advice and answer any questions you may have.
Take a stand against oral cancer this month by taking control of your own health. Visit us today for your oral health care needs. Remember, early detection is key in keeping yourself and your family safe and healthy!