April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
While it’s sometimes not discussed at great lengths, oral cancer is a very real and viable threat. Each year there are upwards of 54,000 cases, as reported by the American Cancer Society. The entire month of April is focused on the increased awareness of oral cancer as well as the actions we can take to help prevent it. Knowing what the early warning signs are can mean all the difference between life and death.
Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer
While only a medical professional, mainly an oncologist can determine if a patient has developed oral cancer, there are early symptoms and warning signs that if spotted early enough, can be an indication of a bigger problem.
- A sore throat that persists and doesn’t go away over time
- Noticeable lump or thickness developing in the soft tissues of the oral cavity
- A gradual or sudden change in voice that’s noticeably raspy or hoarse.
- Sudden ear pain that wasn’t present before
- Difficulty in talking, chewing, swallowing, or initiating any movement of the mouth or jaw
- A sudden or gradual feeling of numbness in the jaw or mouth
- If you have dentures or a partial, any difficulty or uncomfortable feeling from placing them in your mouth. Or sudden difficulty during use.
These warning signs are not a certain indication of oral cancer. However, if you find that they persist for over a week, see a doctor immediately to have them evaluated.
5 Contributing Factors to the Development of Oral Cancer
The exact cause of cancer is still unknown, but research has determined that there are a number of contributing factors that have been linked to oral cancer. Again, these might not directly cause cancer to develop. However, research has shown that these contribute to the cause.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is one of the most commonly contracted STDs in the United States. Certain cancers in the head and neck area have been found in people who have previously contracted HPV.
- Tobacco & Alcohol Use
If you use tobacco-related products or have an excess of more than 1-2 drinks daily, you are susceptible to oral cancer. If you decide to smoke and drink, exercise in moderation.
- Gender & Age
While the disease doesn’t tend to discriminate, studies have shown that men are far more likely to contract oral cancer than women. Most of the people who end up contracting oral cancer are over the age of 55.
Dr. Lattineli & His Team at JCL Dental
Because April is oral cancer awareness month, making an appointment to ensure your mouth is a healthy one is of the utmost importance. JCL dental can make sure you stay ahead of the curve in terms of preventative care. For more information and appointments, visit us online at https://www.drlattinelli.com/.