Oral cancer may not be a highly publicized form of cancer; however, that doesn’t make it any less deadly. Did you know that oral cancer is the cause of one death every hour in America? It is also a form of cancer with a high rate of reoccurrence. That means if you survive the first encounter with it, you’re now 20 times more likely to get it again. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and since these numbers haven’t improved over the years, your dentist in Carlisle is taking the time to share some important facts to know about oral cancer.
The Definition of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer refers to all cancers that occur in the head and neck region excluding the brain, which has its own separate category. The reason oral cancer is so dangerous is because there are not many noticeable signs, symptoms, or much pain in the beginning; so it often goes undetected.
Here are some of the signs to look for:
- A white or red patch of tissue inside the mouth
- A sore or lesion that doesn’t heal or go away within 14 days
- A lump or mass inside the neck or mouth
- Pain when talking, swallowing, or eating
- Numbness in the mouth or face
Remember that you are your own best advocate! If you see changes in your oral health or notice strange sores or lesions in your mouth, don’t hesitate to contact your Carlisle dentist and have it examined right away.
What Are the Risk Factors for Oral Cancer?
In the past, oral cancer typically affected older people; however, due to the rise of the human papillomavirus (HPV), many younger people are now developing it.
Tobacco use also puts you at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. You increase your risk 15 times when you combine tobacco use with alcohol.
There have also been studies that have shown that diet may also contribute to certain cancers. Eating more fruits and vegetables naturally helps protect against many forms of cancer.
Protect Your Health
Your routine examination with your dentist every six months is your best defense against oral cancer. Because your dentist can detect it early on, it gives you a better chance of successfully treating it.
Protect your health and give your dentist a call today to schedule your next checkup.
About the Author
At Carlisle Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Thomas Neslund and Dr. Eric Weed combine their talents and expertise to bring high-quality dentistry to patients in Carlisle, PA. With preventive dentistry as our focus, we are happy to be able to educate our patients about oral cancer to help them avoid this devastating disease.
If you would like to contact our dentists, our team can be reached online or by calling (717) 258-5455.