April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and as part of the campaign, we want to spread the word about this type of cancer that affects more people than you might think. In the US every year, 54,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer and around 11,000 die each year. With early detection, oral cancer (which can occur in your tongue, tonsils, gums, the roof or floor of the mouth, and the lips) can be treated effectively.
Dr. Fitz encourages everyone to take note of the following ways to spot early signs of oral cancer and highlights who has a higher risk of developing oral cancer.
3 Ways to Spot Signs of Oral Cancer
1) Visit Your Petworth Dentist
Don’t overlook the importance of visiting the dentist at least twice a year for your exam and professional cleaning. Dr. Fitz performs an oral cancer screening as part of her exams so she will be the first to spot any early signs of oral cancer and will be able to refer you to a specialist if needed.
2) Learn the Signs and Symptoms
Review the symptoms of oral cancer below so you are aware of any irregularities in your mouth during your regular daily oral routine of brushing and flossing.
3) Know Your Body
If you feel like any of the signs and symptoms you have don’t go away within a week or two, don’t ignore them. You know your body better than anyone, so it’s important to take charge of your health and get seen promptly by Dr. Fitz.
Oral Cancer Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of
Unexplained jaw, mouth, or ear pain
Feeling or seeing any red or white patches in your mouth
Feeling lumps inside your mouth
Unexpected weight loss
Consistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
Who Gets Oral Cancer?
While anyone can get oral cancer, men are twice as likely to be affected. Other people who may have an increased risk include people who:
Have a poor diet
Consume alcohol and tobacco products
Have too much sun exposure on their lips
Don’t brush and floss their teeth daily
Have Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Are over the age of 55
Oral Cancer Awareness Month is important to highlight the symptoms and the risk factors, so we ask you to please share this with your loved ones so they know what to look out for too. Many lives could be saved if we take the steps to recognize the early signs of oral cancer. The team at Solstice Smiles Dental is here to answer any of your questions or concerns and to help you book an appointment if you are worried about your oral health.