You want to be happy and healthy for a long time. Unfortunately, 54,000 people in the United States will discover that they have oral cancer this year.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Here are some tips that can help you and your loved ones combat this disease.
Keep Away From Tobacco
Tobacco use is the leading risk factor for oral cancer in the United States. Quitting or never starting can significantly reduce your likelihood of developing this and other cancers.
HPV is an increasingly common cause of oral cancer. Fortunately, there are vaccines that can help prevent this virus from causing an infection. To find out if you or someone in your family is eligible for these vaccines, talk to your doctor.
Do a Self-Check
Watch for early signs of oral cancer:
- Red or white patches on the soft tissues of your mouth
- Pain or trouble swallowing, speaking, or eating
- Changes in how your teeth fit with each other
- Sores that don’t seem to get better
- Lumps, thick area, or rough spots on the soft tissues of your mouth
If you notice one or more of these issues, contact your doctor.
Visit the Dentist
When you come to our office for a dental cleaning and exam, our professionals will be watching for anything suspicious. We will let you know if we notice anything, so you seek help. We can’t diagnose oral cancer, but we can advise you if you should be checked.