Essential Insights And Prevention For Oral Cancer Awareness

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When we think about going to the dentist for cleanings and fillings, we typically are focused on the prevention of future problems with our gums and our teeth. But one thing that often gets overlooked or forgotten is oral cancer. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Here’s what you need to know.

Every year, about 53,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer. Oral cancer is unfortunately associated with a high death rate, with 60% of people living less than five years after diagnosis, and approximately 9,000 people dying from its complications annually. Many others who are diagnosed with oral cancer undergo extensive surgeries that leave them with disfigurement and difficulties eating and speaking. Risk factors for oral cancer include smoking, vaping, chewing tobacco, and a new trend that has shown a high association with HPV (human papillomavirus). Early detection and timely treatment are key for the best long-term survivability of oral cancer. In fact, cases that are diagnosed with early detection are associated with an 80% survival rate.

Things that you should look for at home include:

  • Any sore or ulcer that does not heal within 14 days
  • A painless, firm, fixed lump on the outside of the neck that has been there for 14 days or longer
  • Numbness in the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • A persistent feeling, like something is caught in your throat
  • A white or red patch with an irregular border, on the gums, tonsils, or on/under the tongue

The common theme is to look for abnormalities that are persistent and do not go away on their own. If you ever have any concerns, always reach out to your team at Queen City Dental Arts. We are more than happy to help you assess anything that you might notice. We do perform oral cancer screenings at every hygiene visit and exam, and we always offer the use of the (VELscope® Enhanced Oral Cancer Assessment System) as a way of promoting early detection.

Click the following link for further information from the Oral Cancer Foundation – April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month 2023 Oral Cancer Foundation | Information and Resources about Oral Head and Neck Cancer.

As always, Dr. Stenvall and the QCDA team are here to help you to keep you and your mouth as healthy as possible!

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