We’ve been celebrating Oral Health Month but there’s an illness we think it’s important to focus on this April - Oral Cancer.
So what signs and symptoms should you be on the lookout for?
If you notice patches on your lips or on the inside of your mouth, if you have a sore on your lips or mouth that doesn’t heal, if you have loose teeth, difficulty swallowing (or pain when swallowing), a lump in your neck, or experience numbness in your lower lip and chin, it’s time to schedule an immediate visit with a health care professional. Two other potential symptoms to be aware of are difficulty wearing your dentures and/or a persistent earache.
Oral cancer can originate anywhere in your mouth and throat and most oral cancers start with flat cells (that form the aforementioned patches) that cover the surface of your mouth, lips, and tongue.
People who use tobacco, consume alcohol heavily and have been infected with HPV, or have a personal history of oral cancer have a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Other risk factors include sun exposure, diet, and betel nut use.
Just like with all cancers, the key to survival is catching it as soon as possible. This is why it’s vitally important to visit both your dentist and your doctor on a regular basis and to stay on top of your check ups.
If you want to learn more, visit the Oral Cancer Foundation’s Website here: http://oralcancerfoundation.org/events/oral-head-neck-cancer-awareness-month/