The Oral Cancer Foundation has found that oral cancer affects approximately 54,000 people each year, leading to over 9,000 deaths. To highlight the seriousness of the disease, save lives, and protect everyone’s oral health, the foundation has declared April Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
This disease can affect us all, and there is plenty that you can do for oral cancer awareness month. Our experts have compiled the following facts about this disease as well as ways you reduce your risk of contracting oral cancer in your life.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer, also referred to as mouth cancer or oral cavity cancer, is the type of cancer that forms in the mouth, lips, tongue, and back of the throat. Oral cancer remains one of the fastest-spreading cancers in the body. Therefore, annual screenings are important for early detection and treatment.
Causes and Signs to Know
Many risk factors increase your odds of developing oral cancer. Heavy tobacco use, consuming alcohol, UV light exposure, and having human papillomavirus (HPV) greatly increase your chances for mouth and throat cancer. Although oral cancers can affect anyone at any age, it typically affects people assigned male at birth and adults over the age of 40.
Common signs of oral cancer include
- Red sores or other abnormal tissue on lips or gums that don’t go away
- White patches in your mouth that won’t go away
- Persistent mouth pain
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Jaw swelling in the face and neck
- Difficulty eating or chewing
- Numbness in the mouth, head, and neck
Ways to Mitigate Your Risk of Oral Cancer
There are numerous preventive measures to reduce your risk of oral cancer. Some of these include
- Avoiding tobacco products
- Consuming alcohol in moderation
- Receiving an HPV vaccine
- Avoiding UV light
- Frequent dental checkups
Schedule A Screening Today!
With Oral Cancer Awareness Month, do your part and schedule a preventative checkup as soon as possible. If you need an oral cancer screening dentist, Rio Dental and Orthodontics is here to help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment! We specialize in preventative dentistry and screen for oral cancer to detect it at an early stage.