April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!
April 26, 2017 by
Dr. B. in
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, there are nearly 50,000 people who are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. Regular screenings completed by yourself and dental professionals is the key to prevention. Screenings are completed by visualizing and palpating the tissues of the head, neck and mouth. As with any cancer, prevention is key. There are several risk factors to consider:
- Limit your use of tobacco products like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars, and E-cigarettes (although there are limited studies on smoking marijuana, it seems to reason that smoking anything may cause increased to oral cancer)
- Limit your use of alcohol, especially when in combination with tobacco
- Limit your exposure to viral infections like Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). You may wish to speak with your medical professional about different vaccination for HPV.
- Limit your exposure to sunlight as this is the leading cause of skin cancer. The border of the lips are at high risk for cancers so be sure your chap-stick contains SPF and apply it liberally and often!
The most common areas that show signs of oral cancer are the sides of the tongue and under the tongue. Simple things to look for:
- areas that are a different color than the surrounding tissue,
- a lump that feels hard upon palpation
- any sore or mole that changes size, shape or color.
If you notice any of these signs, call us right away to schedule an oral cancer screening!