This is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. We hope that neither you nor your loved ones are among the estimated 54,000 people who will be diagnosed with this disease this year in the United States.
At the same time, our team at LakeCrest Dental in Claremore, OK wants to share some information that could help you if you do have this illness.
1. Visit the Dentist
One of the best things you can do is get regular dental checkups. We are looking for cavities and gum disease, but that’s not all. We are looking for any signs that could indicate oral cancer as well. If we notice anything out of the ordinary, we want you to know as soon as possible, so you can contact your physician.
2. Watch for Symptoms
Performing a self-check can be valuable in between dental visits. Feel for lumps or thickening of soft tissues around your neck, jawline, lips, cheeks, tongue, and the roof of your mouth. Pay attention to any sores in your mouth that haven’t gotten better in 14 days. Be aware if you are having trouble swallowing or have chronic hoarseness.
3. Reduce Your Risk
Family history and getting older are not things that you can control. However, you can avoid tobacco products, avoid or limit alcohol, and get vaccinated against HPV (if you are eligible) to reduce your chances of developing oral cancer.