April is officially known as oral cancer awareness month. As this time approaches, you may see more news and media reports warning of the risks associated with this deadly disease. Dentists in Raleigh want you to know that the risk for cancer can strike at any time. That’s why you’ll be monitored for oral cancer at every dental visit, no matter the month.
Dental professionals are trained to spot the signs and symptoms of oral cancer, providing the appropriate care when necessary. Here’s what you should know about why cancer awareness is so important:
- Your chances of surviving oral cancer are increased dramatically when the disease is caught in its earliest stages. Early detection is critical!
- The Oral Cancer Foundation has reported that more than 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer each year.
- Current statistics have revealed that approximately one person dies every hour from oral cancer. Every Day.
- Major risk factors for oral cancer have been found to be ongoing alcohol and tobacco use, history or exposure to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), genetic/hereditary factors, and inadequate dietary habits.
- The signs and symptoms of oral cancer include patchy red or white lesions in the mouth or throat, a lump or bump in the mouth or neck, discomfort or difficulty when swallowing, chewing, or speaking. Chronic hoarseness or discomfort in the throat could also be an indicator for oral cancer.
Many of oral cancer’s signs and symptoms are invisible to the naked eye, so it is important that you allow your dentist to perform a thorough evaluation once or twice each year. This should include dental x-rays, a clinical examination, and an updated medical history document.
Though it can be deadly, cancer doesn’t always hurt, so don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are healthy simply because you aren’t in pain. Instead, contact your favorite Raleigh dentists for a professional examination today.