April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
Approximately 53,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed this year with oral cancer (cancer of the mouth).
One hundred forty-five new people every day will be diagnosed with oral cancer, and one person every hour of the day will die from it — that’s nearly 9,000 deaths from oral cancer every year.
Of the people newly diagnosed with oral cancer, only about 60% will live longer than five years.
Moreover, many who do survive, suffer long-term problems such as severe facial disfigurement or difficulties eating and speaking. The death rate associated with oral cancer remains high because cancer tends to be discovered late in its development.
Oral cancer awareness in the American public is low.
While smoking and tobacco use are major risk factors, the fastest-growing segment of oral cancer patients is young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the human papillomavirus (HPV).
The only hope to save lives is public awareness.
Oral cancer can be treated when detected early. People can learn how to examine themselves for possible signs and symptoms. If one is detected, they should see their dentist, oral and facial surgeon, or other healthcare professionals immediately.
Some of the most common oral cancer signs and symptoms include:
- A persistent mouth sore: a sore in the mouth that does not heal is the most common symptom of oral cancer
- Pain: Persistent mouth pain is another common oral cancer sign
- A lump or thickening in the cheek
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth
- A sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat that does not go away
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
- Numbness of the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth
- Jaw swelling that makes dentures hurt or fit poorly
- Loosening of the teeth
- Pain in the teeth or jaw
- Voice changes
- A lump in the neck
- Weight loss
- Persistent bad breath
If any of these oral cancer signs or symptoms are present for days or weeks, your doctor may recommend tests to check for oral cancer. As with any cancer, having your cancer diagnosed as soon as possible will help ensure that any treatment is as effective as possible.
Oral cancer screenings are offered at our office. They are a part of your routine checkup and should be done, at a minimum, once a year. If you are due for your screening, call our Houston office at 832 830-8226 to schedule a visit, or use the “Book Now” button above.
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