Are you actively reducing your risks for oral cancer?
This month marks the 13th annual Oral Cancer Awareness campaign which was established to reduce the risk factors and the number of oral cancer patients through education and prevention tips.
Last year, we answered your Top 5 Questions About Oral Cancer. This year, Jollyville Dental Professionals wants to emphasize the importance of regularly checking yourself for oral cancer symptoms.
Oral cancer is sneaky.
Most of the time, you won’t feel any pain in the earliest stages of its development. Symptoms that go unnoticed until they become a much bigger problem are the reason oral cancers have one of the highest death rates of all types of cancer.
When symptoms are discovered early, you can put the treatment strategy in place to defend your health. Even if you’re a non-smoker, it’s vital that you examine yourself for any irregularities in and around your mouth and neck at least once a month.
Common Oral Cancer Symptoms
- White or red spots, anywhere in your mouth or on your lips
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or talking
- Lump, in mouth or neck
- Sore or blisters, in mouth or on lips
If a symptom lasts longer than two weeks, then make an appointment with your dentist or doctor for a medical examination.
How to Check Yourself for Oral Cancer
Oral cancer symptoms can present themselves anywhere in and around your mouth or neck. Typically, the first sign is little white or red spots on your tongue, gums, or the inside of your cheeks.
- Visually check your entire mouth for any white or red spots, unfamiliar cuts, discoloration, and blotches. Be sure to check on the sides and under your tongue as this is the most common type of oral cancer for non-smokers. Also look at your face, lips, and neck or any signs of discoloration or lumps.
- Feel around with your fingers for any lumps or raised tissue. A good way to exam cheeks is to have one finger inside and one finger outside. Place slight pressure from both fingers so that you are squeezing your cheek between them as you slide them up and down checking for bumps.
How to Prevent Oral Cancer
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
- Moderate alcohol intake, especially if you do use tobacco products
- Regularly check your mouth for symptoms
- Get examined by your doctor or dentist, once or twice a year
- Avoid excessive sun exposure without sunblock
- Get tested for human papilloma virus, HPV
Currently, there are about 40,000 newly diagnosed oral cancer patients in the U.S. every year. Only 57% of those people are expected to still be alive five years later.
Don’t be the victim of a sneak attack. Position yourself in such a way that you greatly reduce your risks of oral cancer through both healthy life choices and self examinations.
If you’ve noticed a persistent symptom or would just like to be examined by a dental professional, please schedule an appointment by calling us at (512) 943-6502 or filling out the Contact Us form on our website. Also, we’d love for you to join us on Facebook! Like our page to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in our office, as well as tips and the latest trends in the dental industry.