We believe it is so important to spread the word about detection and prevention of oral cancer—especially because early detection is so critical to successfully treating this disease. Therefore, in honor of April being Oral Cancer Awareness month, we’ve compiled these four important facts that everyone should know about this disease.
1. Oral cancer can impact any part of the oral cavity.
There are many parts of the oral cavity that you may not be aware of. While you’d it expect it to include such things as the tongue, gums, and maybe even the cheek lining, there are other elements that are included as well— including the lips, salivary glands, palate, tonsils, and more. Therefore, an abnormal growth of cells in any of these places would be considered oral cancer.
2. There are a number of symptoms to be on the lookout for.
If you see any red or white patches in the mouth, have a sore that won’t heal, or experience bleeding, difficulty swallowing, loose teeth, or abnormal bumps or swelling, it is important to visit Aurora Dental Group as soon as possible for a screening.
3. It is important to know if you are at higher risk for oral cancer.
Early detection is key, so it is important to know if you may at risk for oral cancer. For example, men are twice as likely to get oral cancer as women, and two-thirds of those with oral cancer are over the age of 55. Genetic factors may also play a role in your risk level. If you have Fanconi anemia, for instance, or aplastic anemia, you have a significantly higher risk for oral cancer.
There are also a number of preventative factors that could be contributing to your risk level. If you spend most of your time outdoors or sunbathe frequently, you’ll want to be particularly careful of cancer on the lip, as this can occur often in those who have prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light. Finally, if you are a smoker or a heavy drinker, you are much more susceptible to getting this disease.
4. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical.
Symptoms for oral cancer are often mistaken as symptoms of other ailments, so catching it on your own can be difficult. One of the easiest ways to ensure oral cancer is detected early is to visit your dentist every six months. At Aurora Dental Group, we provide thorough cancer screenings using VELscope Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System. Using a handheld scope, this system looks over the natural tissue to discover any abnormalities that might have been overlooked. Therefore, if you are concerned that you may have oral cancer, or know that you are at risk, one of the best things you can do to take care of your health is to schedule a screening!
If you would like to schedule your oral cancer screening or learn more about this disease, contact Aurora Dental Group today to book an appointment.