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What You Need to Know This Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 20, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drkics @ 8:32 pm
Doctor holding red and white ribbon for oral cancer awareness

The American Cancer Society recently shared that a little more than 54,000 cases of oral cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2023. Despite its prevalence, many people continue to be unaware of the risk factors, the symptoms to look out for, and the important role their dentist plays in early detection. Fortunately, you can read on to learn about each of these!

The Risk Factors of Oral Cancer

Although oral cancer can affect patients of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, there are certain things that have been linked to an increased risk of developing oral cancer, including:

  • Gender (males are more likely to get oral cancer than females)
  • Age (older people are more likely to develop oral cancer)
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Unprotected sun exposure
  • The Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

7 Symptoms of Oral Cancer to Keep an Eye Out For

Being familiar with the common signs of oral cancer is crucial – it could make all of the difference in early detection! With this in mind, keep an eye out for:

  • A sore in your mouth that doesn’t go away
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, or moving your tongue
  • Red or white patches on your tongue, gums, or the lining of your mouth
  • A change in your bite
  • Tenderness or numbness in your mouth or on your lips
  • The feeling that something is caught in your throat
  • A lump or rough spot in your mouth

The Importance of Routine Oral Cancer Screenings

Naturally, early detection is of the utmost importance. The good news is that your dentist can help; they conduct oral cancer screenings at each of your biannual checkups! During the exam, they dedicate some time to looking at the floor of your mouth, your tongue, and the back of your throat, carefully looking for warning signs of oral cancer. It’s such a quick and painless process that you likely won’t even realize it’s happening. If they notice anything concerning, they will bring it to your attention so you can talk to your primary care physician.

With knowledge of the common risk factors and symptoms, you can do your part to lower your risk and get medical attention in the early stages. Of course, your dentist is also there to help, so schedule a checkup if it’s been more than six months since your last one!

About the Practice

In short, our team at Westgate Dental Care is committed to improving your oral and overall health. That’s why we take the time to screen for non-dental issues during your biannual checkups, including oral cancer. If it’s been more than six months since your last visit to our office or you have a question about oral cancer screenings, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team via our website or by phone at (847) 577-7171.