The Dental Center at Easton Town Center wants to let you know that April is Oral Cancer Awareness month and we wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the “not so famous” cancer that can affect anyone. Even though more than 40,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in America each year during routine dental appointments, it has not yet reached the ranks of notoriety as other types of cancer (i.e. lung cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer). Oral cancer doesn’t have any high profile fundraisers. In fact, many do not know that the red and white ribbon is the symbol for oral cancer awareness. Therefore, there is no better time than today to take a closer look at the nitty-gritty of this disease.
Could you be at risk? Oral cancer is certainly on the rise. In decades past, tobacco users were at the top of the list for developing oral cancer. However, the “at risk” group has now expanded to also include men and women who consume an excessive amount of alcohol, spend a lot of time in the sun, and/or are the carrier of HPV (the human papilloma virus).
What are the warning signs? In its early stages, there’s rarely any pain associated with oral cancer. A discolored patch or lumps in or around the mouth, consistent hoarseness, and/or difficulty swallowing are the most common warning signs. The longer the cancerous tissue is left untreated, the more painful it becomes.
Routine Screenings. Screenings are a valuable tool that can save your life. Local dental professionals are trained to assess and evaluate the health of the tissue of the cheeks, gum, palate, tongue and lips. In fact, screenings are routinely done at six-month checkups and regular cleanings. However, if you feel something looks or feels different in your mouth or throat in between your dental checkups, it is very important to let your dentist know. The earlier oral cancer is detected, the greater likelihood it can be treated!
• Avoid all forms of tobacco.
• Limit or drink alcohol in moderation.
• Get HPV vaccination.
• Schedule regular dental exams.
Not only is oral cancer not-so-famous, it is not-so-fun. The death rate from oral cancer is higher than cervical cancer, yet there is less national publicity regarding the crux of the disease. We at The Dental Center at Easton Town Center want to do our part during Oral Cancer Awareness month— we want to get the message out to the public that routine dental screenings are essential to a long healthy life!
As your local dentist, for Columbus residents, we’d be happy to schedule an appointment for an examination in the near future. If you feel you have an emergency situation, we are ready to help!