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April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Apr 3

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Sunday, April 3, 2016  RssIcon

Stay Informed in Fighting Oral Cancer

With flowers blooming and fresh life returning to what was once a dormant winter wonderland, spring is a season that is often synonymous with the feeling of hope. This is especially true in the field of oral health, and that’s because April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Although the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that cancer of the mouth and upper throat kills nearly one person every hour, public awareness of the disease continues to remain low. That’s why April is critical in spreading awareness and encouraging patients to seek the treatment that could save their lives.

A Brief History of Oral Cancer Awareness

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 48,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. In fact, approximately 130 people in the United States are newly diagnosed with the life-threatening disease every day. With numbers as alarming as these, the Oral Cancer Foundation had to take action. The organization launched the first Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April of 2000 and has led the effort annually since then. Together with dentists, surgeons, and other practitioners, their goal is to encourage people to know the warning signs and get screened every year.

Knowing the Signs

Cancer of the mouth and upper throat can reveal itself in many different ways. It’s also important to understand the primary risk factors that increase your chances of developing the disease. Some of these key risk factors are:
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Persistent human papilloma virus (HPV) infection 
  • Tobacco use
If you have one or more of these risk factors, you should be getting annual screenings to monitor symptoms. Some of the most common signs of oral cancer are:
  • Bleeding
  • Constant sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Discoloration of soft tissue in the mouth
  • Numbness
  • Persistent swelling or lumps
  • Raised tissue
  • Ulcers or sores that do not heal after 3 weeks
These are just some of the early signs of oral cancer.

Getting Involved

It’s easy to get involved and join the oral cancer awareness movement. At the very least, the Oral Cancer Foundation recommends getting screened by your local Margate and Coconut Creek dentistry practice. This is important because your dentist or oral surgeon is often the first person to recognize the disease.
To learn more about the signs of oral cancer, or if you are concerned you may be exhibiting early symptoms of the disease, please schedule an appointment today. Early detection and treatment is key!

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