April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Oral cancer is a growing health concern, with cases rising annually around the globe. Although there are several contributing factors, one of the most important is the lack of routine screening. Sadly, a large percentage of diagnosed cases are late-stage diseases that, if caught earlier, could have been largely curable.

The survival rate continues to hover around 50% due to the overall lack of screening contributing to late-stage diagnosis. This is especially true of developing economies where access to dental health care is minimal.

Spotting oral cancer in the early stage is our goal. We perform an oral cancer screening during routine dental cleanings to find a disease early and give patients the greatest chance to fully recover. It is also important to be aware of the common signs of oral cancer and understand the risks of certain lifestyle habits. Patients who use tobacco products of any kind have an increased risk of developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco products or have a family history of oral cancer, mention this to our team to educate you further on possible health concerns and be aware of your higher risk status.

Common signs of oral cancer

  • Sore or red/white patch in the mouth that does not heal
  • Persistent hoarseness
  • Lump in the back of the mouth or neck area
  • Difficulty swallowing

Oral cancer screening is quick and painless- many patients do not even realize that their dentist has performed the screening while they did a thorough dental exam. Twice yearly visits to our office will enhance our ability to spot early signs of cancer as we develop a more in-depth knowledge of your oral health.
Routine dental care not only supports a good quality of life but can be life-saving!