Oral cancer. You probably don’t hear much about it; however, did you know that it’s responsible for one death every hour in America, 24 hours per day? What’s worse is that the numbers have not improved over the years since it’s typically not diagnosed until its later stages. It is also cancer with a high rate of reoccurrence. This means if you survive a first encounter with the disease, you are now 20 times more likely to get it again. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Your dentist in Frisco feels it’s time to bring more facts about oral cancer to light, which can help save more lives.
How Do We Define Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer refers to all types of cancer that occur in the head and neck region. This excludes the brain, which has a separate category. Because there are not many noticeable symptoms or much pain, in the beginning, oral cancer often goes undetected.
Here are some signs to be aware of:
- Tissue changes inside the mouth often appearing white or red
- A sore or lesion that doesn’t heal or go away within 14 days
- A lump or mass inside the neck or mouth
- Pain when you talk, swallow or eat
- Numbness in the mouth or face
You are your own best advocate when it comes to detecting oral cancer early on. If you notice strange sores or lesions in your mouth that aren’t healing properly, or have changes in your dental health, don’t hesitate to contact your Frisco dentist for an examination right away.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Oral cancer typically affected older people in the past; however, due to the rise of the human papillomavirus (HPV), many younger people are now getting it.
Tobacco use increases your risk of developing oral cancer. When you combine tobacco use with alcohol, you increase your risk 15 times.
Some studies have shown that diet may also contribute to the development of certain cancers. Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables naturally protects you from many forms of cancer.
Protect Your Health
Because your dentist can detect oral cancer early on, your routine dental examination every six months is your best defense against it. Early detection gives you a better chance of successfully treating this deadly disease.
If it could mean the difference between life and death, wouldn’t you call your dentist today and schedule your next examination?
About the Author
Stonebriar Smile Design combines the talents and expertise of three dentists. Our team takes a comprehensive approach called wellness dentistry that strives to protect not only your dental health but also your overall well-being. This includes offering the services of a dental oncologist, Dr. Dennis Abbott, who can help with the diagnosis and treatment of oral cancer.
If you would like to contact Stonebriar Smile Design, we can be reached online or by calling (972) 377-7800.