April is designated Oral Cancer Awareness Month in an effort to raise awareness of the risks and symptoms associated with oral, neck, and head cancer.
Oral Cancer Statistics
The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that the rate of occurrence of oral cancers has continually increased over the past five years. It also reveals that:
- When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 % survival rate.
- Unfortunately, the majority are found as late stage cancers, and this accounts for the very high death rate of about 43% at five years from diagnosis (for all stages combined at time of diagnosis).
- Late stage diagnosis is not occurring because most of these cancers are hard to discover, but because of a lack of public awareness coupled with the lack of a national program for opportunistic screenings, which would yield early discovery by medical and dental professionals.
Taking Preventative Steps
Although there’s no way to prevent oral cancer, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk:
- Avoid using all forms of tobacco.
- Adopt a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Protect your lips from excessive exposure to the sun.
- Practice moderation in the consumption of alcohol.
- Conduct a self exam at least once a month
- Schedule regular dental visits for a thorough examination.
Examine the State of Your Oral Health
When conducting a self examination, ensure that you use a bright light and mirror that will allow you to be able to see clearly into your mouth. Visually check every area of your oral cavity, including your lips, gums, cheeks, entire tongue, back of your throat, roof of the mouth, and the area under your tongue. If you notice any significant changes in color, or the development of sores or skin patches that seem to persist after even a couple weeks, contact us right away.
Make sure to also make a physical inspection by feeling your lips and cheeks, along with checking for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes along either side under your lower jaw and neck. Once again, if you notice any changes that are mentioned as signs of oral cancer, get professional assistance right away.
Oral Cancer Screenings
At our office, top dentist in Chandler, AZ, Dr. Walker utilizes a revolutionary, life-saving device that can identify the development of oral cancer at its earliest of stages, even before any of the physical signs mentioned above present themselves. It is quick, painless, and can help save your life. Contact us today to learn more about this state-of-the-art oral cancer screening procedure, and do everything you can to keep your smile, dazzling, healthy, and cancer free.
Do you think most people know that a life-saving, oral cancer screening test is available at the dentist?