April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a time when the dental community comes together to shed light on the serious disease that affects more people than you may think. While it may be thought of as a rare form of cancer it actually causes over 8,000 deaths per year or the equivalent to one person per hour.
The Oral Cancer Foundation has stated that more than 43,000 Americans this year will be diagnosed with oral cancer. This makes public awareness of the disease’s risk factors even more important. Dentists play a significant role in keeping you safe since they are able to perform head and neck exams and oral screenings that can catch abnormalities in the earliest stages. In the name of prevention here are 3 reasons why getting an oral screening should be on your priority list.
Early Detection Is Key
A thorough oral cancer screening in painless and can be done within five minutes. As mentioned, dentists can be the first line of defense when it comes to identifying the disease in its early stages. Even more conveniently the exams can be done during routine visits. When oral cancers are detected early the survival rate is increased close to 80 to 90 percent. Do a good deed for yourself and get checked.
Oral Cancer Is Reaching A Younger Age Demographic
Young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals are now the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients. This makes it that much more important for adults of all backgrounds and ages to have regular screenings. Knowing the risks can also help you to make better decisions about your health and lifestyle. A few of the biggest risk factors are:
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol use
- Contracting other harmful diseases
A Screening Will Tell You If Symptoms Are Serious
In between your regular dental visits it’s important to stay aware of certain signs and symptoms. Though they don’t always necessarily mean something is seriously wrong it’s best to have a professional opinion formed. Make sure to talk to your dentist immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms
- Sores in the mouth that bleed easily or do not heal
- Thick or hard spots or lumps
- Roughened or crusted area
- Numbness, pain or tenderness
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down
Don’t ignore any suspicious signs or symptoms that persist for more than two weeks. Your mouth plays an important role in sending out early warning signs. Make an exam to see a dentist and get a screening as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help aide in a successful recovery. If you still have any questions or concerns, feel free to call the Hassey Dental Associates for answers!