April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Because our practice is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are deferring your routine exams, we want to provide our patients with some education and tips
Do you know the main cause of oral cancer?
While smoking and tobacco use are still major risk factors, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus. 132 new people in the US EVERY DAY will be newly diagnosed with an oral cancer, and that one person EVERY HOUR OF THE DAY, 24/7/365 will die from it. The Centers for Disease Control found that less than half of American adults are aware that HPV infection is a risk factor for oropharyngeal/oral cancers.
Where does it most often appear?
Bottom of the mouth
Over 40% of all cases lead to death in under 5 years because of this. If detected early on, this illness has a 90% survival rate. It is one of our goals here at Leff & Link Dentistry, to spread awareness on how to notice symptoms when they first appear. This is why both our Hygienists and our Dentists, both carefully examine your mouth at your new patient and recare appointments.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Lessen/stop the use of tobacco products
Drink alcohol only in moderation
Wear lip balm with SPF when in the sun, and limit excessive sun exposure
Get vaccinated for HPV
Stay up to date with your routine dental checkups
What if I think I found something unusual in my mouth?
Our general philosophy is if you notice something in or around your mouth that you find unusual, and it doesn’t improve, or it even worsens over several days, you should contact us to evaluate. The vast majority of the time it is nothing serious, but you can never be too cautious when it comes to this. Some typical warning signs of mouth and throat cancers include the following:
Sores in the mouth that don't heal
Bleeding in the mouth that lasts more than a week
Slow-growing lumps in the mouth or neck
Pain in your mouth lasting more than a week
Dramatic voice changes, especially in smokers
Unusual Numbness in the mouth or chin area
For more information on Oral Cancer Awareness Month, check out: https://oralcancerfoundation.org/events/oral-head-neck-cancer-awareness-month/
Drs. Michael J Klausner, Martin Link, & Leonard Leff