April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30,000 new cases of oral cancerare diagnosed each year, and more than 8,000 deaths occur annually. The five-year survival rate for oral cancers is roughly 50%. Early diagnosis makes a tremendous difference in life expectancy and oral cancer is 90% curable when found in it’s early stages. If you smoke or use other tobacco products it is import that you get oral cancer screenings from your dentist or doctor on a regular basis.
In observance of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the Academy of General Dentistry recommends that patients receive a dental exam from a general dentist every six months. Dental exams not only help to decrease a patient’s risk of oral diseases, such as cavities and periodontal disease, but they also may help to diagnose other, sometimes life-threatening medical conditions, such as oral cancer.
When you come in for your routine cleaning appointments here at Grandview Dental Care Dr. Thompson or Dr. Hoellrich will perform an oral cancer exam, by looking and feeling thoroughly at your soft tissues, tongue and throat. Oral cancer can be hard to identify on yourself, but being aware of what your mouth looks like can make a difference. Performing a self exam 1 time a month with make you more familiar. Just by looking in the mirror, open wide and stretch your lips and cheeks out, stick your tongue out and look at the sides and underneath. Some warning signs or Oral cancer may include sores that do not heal, lumps, thick, hard spots, soreness or feeling that something is caught in the throat, difficulty chewing or swallowing, ear pain, difficulty moving the jaw or tongue and numbness of the tongue. Be sure to write down if you notice something questionable and bring it with you when you come in for your appointment.