This month we return our focus to oral cancer because April is Oral Cancer Awareness month!
What Areas Are Affected With Oral Cancer?
According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, the whole mouth including the oropharynx, base of the tongue and tonsils are included in this disease. The Oral Cancer Foundation also reports that almost 10,000 people per year will die of this kind of cancer. That’s quite a hefty number, especially when you consider how simple it is to be routinely checked.
The risk factors for this cancer are long standing and straight forward: Smoking, tobacco use of any kind, excessive alcohol use, vaping, etc. If you would like to read more about other less common but still valid risk factors, click here. Many of these factors are avoidable!!
Screening and Diagnosis
Remember when you were in last to have your teeth cleaned and your hygienist massaged your neck? Then she made you stick out your tongue? Well she was screening you for oral cancer! Partnering with us as your dental professionals is a simple and non invasive way to be checked on the regular for cancer of the mouth. Detection starts by visually seeing a change in the tissues of the mouth. If your dentist or hygienist sees something a bit suspicious they will refer you for further evaluation.
Prevention is possible! Quitting the use of tobacco, both smokeless and smoke-filled, decreases your chances of getting oral cancer. Reducing the amount and frequency that you drink alcohol will also reduce your chances. Getting screened on a regular basis by your hygienist and/or general practitioner will also provide you information if they do start to see a change in your oral tissues. Catching something early on quite typically gives you increased success with treatment.
Are you concerned with anything in your mouth? Do you have a family history of oral cancer? Mention this to your dentist or hygienist at your next visit. They will be able to give you the tools you need to answer your concerns. Comment below if you need us!