April has been designated as Oral Cancer Awareness Month. This year 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer. One person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. The good news is that if detected early, oral cancers have an 80-90 percent survival rate.
In order to help raise awareness and save lives, Denison Family Dentistry is committed to oral cancer screenings. During your regular check-ups we feel for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks, and oral cavity and thoroughly examine the soft tissues in your mouth, specifically looking for any sores or discolored tissues.
In addition to the health benefits for earlier detection and intervention, early detection and treatment have been shown to provide at least a 36% in costs savings versus detection and treatment of a later staged oral cancer.
Anyone can develop oral cancer, and the risk of developing oral cancer increases after age 40. People who use tobacco have a higher risk of oral cancer, and combining alcohol with tobacco greatly increases the risk. Early detection and education are key factors in preventing and treating oral cancers. The current death rate of oral cancer is so high because the majority of cases are discovered in a late or advanced state. If you have any concerns do not hesitate to see a dentist.
Possible warning signs of oral cancer may include:
- A sore inside the mouth that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A color change of the tongue or mouth tissues
- A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
One of the most effective ways to protect your health is to be aware of the risk factors and visit our office for oral cancer screenings. Early detection saves lives, so ask our team about a screening at your next appointment!