April marks the annual Oral Cancer Awareness month. We are always keen to highlight this important month as oral cancer is often a disease that is overlooked and not spoken of enough despite how serious it can be if not treated early.
According to the ADA, we already recommend you visit our dental office in Rosslyn twice a year as a standard for your dental exam and cleaning. If you weren’t aware, our team provides oral cancer screenings at our routine exams and we are often the first line of defense for any issues in the throat and mouth. In addition to our regular checks, we also advise that between appointments, you regularly check inside your mouth at home to look out for symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
A lump or lumps in your cheek
Difficulty swallowing or chewing
The feeling of having something stuck in your throat
Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
Swelling in your neck
Unexpected weight loss
Constant bad breath despite good oral hygiene
Who is at Risk of Oral Cancer?
It’s important to understand that anyone can get oral cancer, however, there are several factors that increase the likelihood of developing it — this includes:
People who smoke or use tobacco products regularly
People who drink alcohol excessively
People who carry the Human papillomavirus (HPV)
People who have excessive sun exposure (lip cancer)
Men are twice as likely to get oral cancer
It’s helpful to reduce the oral cancer risk factors like moderating consumption of tobacco and alcohol, getting the HPV vaccine, and using an SPF lip balm, and also to generally have good oral health by attending regular dental cleanings, and having a balanced and healthy diet.
What to Do If You Have Symptoms for Oral Cancer?
If you notice any of the symptoms described above for more than two weeks, please call us and make an appointment — do not wait until your scheduled exam. Once we check your symptoms, we can then refer you to a specialist should you require it.
According to the ADA, over 51,000 people suffer from oral cancer per year and around one person per hour of every day dies as a result of it. It’s important to stay alert and share this information with friends and family so no one goes undiagnosed.
Please contact our dental office in Rosslyn if you have any questions or concerns about potential symptoms of oral cancer. We are here to provide you with information and support around oral cancer.