Did you know oral cancer is the 11th most common cancer accounting to about 30 percent of all cancer cases? Furthermore, approximately 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer annually and 132 people daily. Tragically, one person succumbs to the severity of oral cancer daily. The irony is, if detected early, you increase your rate of survival by 90 percent.
The problem with the surging numbers of people with oral cancer is lack of awareness. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancer awareness is low, and that’s why they have a month-long event to share knowledge and information on how to prevent oral cancer.
This April, don’t be left behind, but come and participate in the oral cancer awareness month. At Innovo Dental and Implant Studio, we plan to offer free oral cancer screening to all our patients, and here are three reasons to participate:
1. Know if You Are at Risk
The goal of oral cancer screening and tests is to identify any abnormalities in your oral health. Although some medical professionals have expressed concern over healthy people getting oral cancer screening, dentists argue otherwise. Dentists recommend oral cancer screening as it increases your chances of surviving.
Oral cancer refers to an abnormal tumor or growth affecting any part of your mouth, including the tongue. Getting oral cancer screening will help you identify the cause, risk factor, and the possible cure for tongue cancer.
Here are some of the risks factors:
- Tobacco chewing and smoking
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- A compromised immune system
- Alcohol use
- Excessive exposure to sun rays
- History of mouth cancer
It is worth noting, not all people with these risk factors will develop oral cancer. You may develop oral cancer in the absence of these factors. However, knowing where you are will help the dentist come up with a prevention plan to keep oral cancer at bay.
2. Get to Know the Identifying Symptoms
Oral cancer develops slowly, and you may not have any visible symptoms in the beginning. That’s why getting your annual oral cancer screening is important. The dentist will be able to identify any abnormal cells and growth.
In general, though, early-stage symptoms of mouth cancer may include:
- A lump in your mouth or neck
- Pain when chewing, speaking and swallowing
- Red or white patches on the lips, tongue, mouth lining, and gums
- Numbness in your mouth that won’t go away
- Bleeding and soreness in the mouth
- Loose teeth
Visit a dentist near you in Tracy, CA if you have one or more of these symptoms for further assessment.
Cancer develops in stages, and the treatment will vary based. In the first stage, surgery may suffice as the tumor or cancer cells are localized in one position. In advanced stages, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted drug therapy are the treatment of choice.
3. Learn How to Prevent Cancer
Although there is no known strategy for preventing cancer on the roof of your mouth, there are a few tips you can try:
- Watch your nutrition to boost your immune system. Eating foods like vegetables and fruits—rich in antioxidants will help to improve your immunity and give you a fighting chance.
- Wear protective clothing and prevent sun exposure, especially on the lips. Using a lip balm can help shield your lips from UV rays.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. Chronic consumption of alcohol will irritate your mouth and increase your risk of oral cancer.
- Lower your risk of getting the HPV by reducing sexual partners.
- Quit smoking and stay away from second-hand smoke
Finally, don’t forget to have your bi-annual dental checkups to maintain your oral health.
What to Expect
When you come for your screening, our dentist will do a physical examination to check for any abnormal cells and growth. If anything is amiss, the dentist will remove a sample of your mouth cells for a biopsy. X-ray and other imaging tests may also be done to check the extent of the cancer cells.
The dentist may also refer you to an oral surgeon for further diagnosis and treatment, but only when necessary.
Oral cancer screening may not prevent cancer but will increase your chances of survival. Be a part of this year’s cancer awareness month (held in April) to gain the necessary information about oral cancer.