April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Featured / Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Do You Know the Signs of Oral Cancer?

April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a time when the dental community rallies together to fight against a serious disease. While some may think this cancer is rare, nearly 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. It will kill roughly one person per hour, every hour of the day.

Early Detection is Key

When found early, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate. Unfortunately, most oral cancer is discovered at later stages, resulting in the unnecessarily high death rate.

You may not realize that oral cancer screenings are a routine part of a more extensive exam you receive during your regular appointment with English Rows Dental Group. Visiting your dentist regularly is one way to ensure that any abnormal lesions could be discovered early.  We have recently added the Velscope detection system to our office to allow us to detect any potential lesions even earlier than with a visual exam alone.

The Signs of Oral Cancer

The symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Sores in the mouth that bleed easily or do not heal
  • A thick or hard spot or lump
  • A roughened or crusted area
  • Numbness, pain or tenderness
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down

Make sure to talk to your dentist immediately if you notice the above symptoms in yourself or a loved one.

Risk Factors

There are two main risk factors for oral cancer.

  • Smoking and tobacco use are long-term historic causes of oral cancer.
  • The HPV-16 virus, a sexually-transmitted disease, is resulting in the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients being young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals.

It’s more important than ever for all adults to have an oral cancer screening.