Watch Your Mouth! April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

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Watch Your Mouth! April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer

•According to the American Cancer Society’s about 39,500 people will get oral cavity cancer and an estimated 7,500 people will die of these cancers in 2015.

•Oral cancer is cancer of the soft tissue of the mouth, mucous membranes and salivary glands. There are different types of cancers as well as precancerous conditions and benign (non-cancerous) growths. Found and treated early, oral cancer is very curable.

•Men are twice as likely as women to have oral cancer. Smoking and or drinking alcohol increases risk, which multiplies if combined. The use of oral tobacco products (snuff or chew) also carries an especially high risk, which increases over time. There has been a recent rise in the number of oral cancer cases caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) occurring in otherwise healthy, non-smoking individuals.

•The most common symptoms of oral cancer occur in the soft tissue and can include red or white patches or lumps inside the mouth, a continual non-healing sore (especially those that bleed), trouble chewing or swallowing, hoarseness and chronic sore throat. Sometimes there is pain but many conditions, including cancer, often occur without pain.

What You Can Do

•See your dentist regularly. Your dentist can identify areas that require further investigation.

•In between your routine dental exams, using a mirror and bright light, look closely at all the surfaces in your mouth including inside both cheeks, tongue, gums and the floor and roof of your mouth. If you notice any changes, make an appointment.

•Eat a healthy diet

•Minimize or eliminate the risk factors that you can. Even small changes and positive habits can make a difference!

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