If your oral health care providers are talking to you about cancers of the head, neck and throat, it is their April mission to raise awareness of the complications of oral cancer and provide resources that could lead to early detection.
The Oral Cancer Foundation reports every hour, 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year, someone dies of oral or oropharyngeal cancer. However, survival rates of oral cancer may increase with early detection and early treatment.
Oral cancer symptoms could include:
- Sores or irritation that won't heal
- Red or white patches
- Pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
- Lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
- Change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
Dentists and hygienists can perform oral cancer screenings and teach patients how to perform self-screening. They suggest:
- Visit your general dentist twice a year.
Share your medical history with your dentist, including any sexually transmitted disease diagnosis.
Ask your dentist to perform an oral cancer exam.
- Perform a self-exam for oral cancer monthly. It is a two minute process that could save your life!
Watch - American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Oral Cancer Self-Exam
Contact your dentist right away if you notice any abnormal growths, discoloration, tenderness, or bleeding.
Visit https://wvudentalcare.org/oral-cancer/ for oral cancer risk factors and what to expect during an oral cancer screening in your oral health care provider’s office.