Have You Been Screened Recently? IT’S ORAL CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!
How to Catch It Early The best way to catch oral cancer early is by monitoring yourself for symptoms oral cancer screenings from a dentist or other professional. Here at Stumpf Dental, we provide an oral cancer screening with every exam, and my staff and making sure you get regular
Did you know that every day in the U.S.,132 people are diagnosed with oral cancer? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t. While breast and prostate cancers make the news regularly, oral cancer tends to fly under the radar. That might be because it’s associated with habits like smoking and alcohol consumption, so people who don’t smoke or drink tend to dismiss the risks. However, in my experience, dodging the oral cancer bullet isn’t that simple. Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, I think this will be the perfect time to share the truth about oral cancer with you and give you some tips on how to lower your risk. What Is Oral Cancer? Oral cancer, sometimes also called mouth cancer, can develop in the lips, tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth, hard palate, soft palate, sinuses, or throat. It’s treatable, with an 83% cure rate if it’s caught early, according to the National Cancer Institute. However, it often goes undetected until it’s too late. In 2019, roughly 53,000 Americans were diagnosed with oral cancer, and according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, one of them dies from it every hour. Risks to Consider There are two ways people typically develop oral cancer: through tobacco and alcohol use or after contracting human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is sexually transmitted, often through oral sex. Studies show that cases of oral cancer are on the rise and teenagers are increasingly at risk. It’s possible that genetics might also play a role, so really, you’re never too young for an oral cancer screening! Compared to women, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer. The Symptoms Oral cancer symptoms vary, but common signs include sores or ulcerations that refuse to heal; discolored soft tissues in the mouth; lumps or hard spots in the mouth or on the neck; stubborn sore areas under dentures, even after refitting; and other oral abnormalities that bleed when touched. Anecdotally, patients have also reported ear pain, difficulty swallowing, long-lasting soreness in the throat, and numbness in the lips and mouth.
members and I are always on the lookout for ways to improve our screening process and lower your oral cancer risk. Just recently, several cutting-edge fluorescent
devices came onto the market, and I’ve started the process of evaluating them so I can choose the best option for my patients. In addition, every oral cancer screening at our office is a two-person job, so you’ll have two sets of eyes checking for symptoms. If you’re worried about your oral cancer risk or have noticed symptoms, please schedule an appointment with us today. Remember, the earlier you have a screening, the earlier you might catch a problem! We’re here to help, and there’s no better time to put your mind at ease than during Oral Cancer Awareness Month. -Dr. Janelle Ferber-Stumpf
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