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Taking Charge of Oral Health: 7 Signs of Oral Cancer

April marks Oral Cancer Awareness Month, drawing attention to a cancer type that deserves more recognition. Annually, nearly 60,000 individuals in the US are diagnosed with oral cancer, with one adult succumbing to it every hour.

Understanding Oral Cancer

Oral cancer refers to cancers found on the lips, tongue, gums, mouth, and throat lining. Oral cancer survival is highly dependent on the stage at diagnosis, with much higher 5-year survival rates when caught early.

The Importance of Self-Checks and Regular Dental Visits

Regular self-checks and consistent dental visits (every six months) are crucial for monitoring oral health. At Greg L. LaVecchia, DMD, our doctors and dental hygienists are trained to detect early signs of oral cancer during routine check-ups. This is quick and pain-free—you probably haven’t noticed when we do the check!

Common Oral Cancer Symptoms

Be vigilant and aware of these oral cancer symptoms so you can get in touch with your Rosslyn dentist if these symptoms persist for more than a week:

  • White or red patches in your mouth

  • Mouth sores, lumps, or swellings

  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth

  • Throat pain or sensation of something stuck

  • Difficulty swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue

  • Ear pain

  • Sudden weight loss

How to Prevent Oral Cancer

While anyone can develop oral cancer, men are twice as likely to be affected. As well as visiting your Rosslyn dentist and practicing good oral hygiene, you can reduce your risk by:

  • Limiting tobacco and alcohol use

  • Protecting lips from excessive sun exposure with SPF lip balm

  • Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet

  • Being vaccinated against human papillomavirus (people with HPV are more susceptible to getting oral cancer)

Our team at Greg L. LaVecchia, DMD, PC are here to address any questions you have about oral cancer screenings and provide support if you've experienced symptoms. Contact our Arlington dental office for more information or to schedule a consultation about oral cancer. Share this information with your loved ones to raise awareness about the symptoms to watch out for.


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