healtheo360 Wellness Blog

National Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on Apr 28, 2016 12:27:02 AM by healtheo360

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Every day 132 people are diagnosed with oral cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation promotes awareness for oral cancer and early detection by partnering with various organizations to offer free screening during the month of April.

Oral Cancer Awareness

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is cancer of the mouth and appears as a growth or sore that does not go away. An estimated 48,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. The death rate associated with oral cancer is relatively high because of routinely late detection. Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women, and men over the age of 50 are at greater risk.

Symptoms

Lingering teeth with no apparent dental cause
Areas of red or white lesions in your mouth or lips
Swelling that makes wearing dentures uncomfortable
Sores, swellings, lumps or thick patches anywhere in or around your mouth or throat
Unexplained numbness or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.

Risk Factors

Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes.
Family history of cancer
Excessive alcohol consumption
Smokeless tobacco such as chewing tobacco products.

Tests/Diagnosis

Oral cancer screening – an examination performed by a dentist or doctor to look for signs of cancer or precancerous growth in your mouth.
Oral brush biopsy – a small sample of tissue is analyzed for cancerous cells.
Scalpel biopsy – this test usually requires anesthesia and can be performed by a dentist or a specialist.

Treatment

Similar to most other cancer treatments:
Surgery to remove the cancerous growth
Followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy to terminate any remaining cancer cells

Oral Cancer Awareness

Prevention

Practice daily oral hygiene by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily
Limit sun exposure
Eat a well balanced diet
Quit smoking/using tobacco products
See your dentist regularly.

Sources:
Oral Cancer Foundation
Colgate
Web MD

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