April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and every April dental associations throughout the country join together with the non-profit Oral Cancer Foundation to raise awareness and for oral cancer prevention. Not only do 132 people in the United States every day get diagnosed with oral cancer, but someone dies of oral or oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the mouth and upper throat). Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth (lips, tongue and cheeks), pharynx and larynx.
At Brenner Dental of Park Slope, we encourage you to set up and maintain a regular hygiene schedule which always includes a complete oral cancer screening. Between your scheduled professional hygiene visits be mindful of symptoms, “Check Your Mouth.” Signs of oral cancer may include one or more of the following:
• Any sore or ulceration that does not heal in 14 days
• A red, white or black discoloration of the soft tissue in the mouth
• A lump or hard spot in the tissue
• A sore under a denture that does not heal
• A lump or thickening that develops in the mouth
• A painless, firm lump on the outside of the neck that has been there for two weeks
Also be aware of the following symptoms which last more than two-three weeks and could be signs of oropharyngeal cancer (abnormal cells found at the base of the tongue, the tonsil, the soft palate and the walls of the pharynx):
• Hoarseness or sore throat that does not resolve itself
• A swollen tonsil on just one side
• A persistent cough
• Difficulty swallowing; a sensation that food is getting caught in your throat
• An earache that persists more than a few days
Research has identified a number of risk factors that may contribute to the development of oral and oropharyngeal cancers, such as heavy drinkers and smokers, especially over the age of 50, but these symptoms also occur frequently in non-smokers and younger adults.
If you have never had an oral cancer examination or it’s been a while since your last oral cancer examination there is no better time to do it than now, April 2021, during Oral Cancer Awareness Month. A complete oral cancer examination remains the best method to detecting oral cancer in its early stages. Oral cancer, if detected in its early stages, is treatable.
Call us today at Brenner Dental of Park Slope to schedule your appointment.