April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. As many people are still unaware about oral cancer causes, symptoms and the fact that early diagnosis is essential to prevent oral cancer, it’s time to create awareness about oral cancer and recognize the importance of oral cancer screenings in early detection of the disease. The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) takes the opportunity to raise awareness about oral cancer among the community.
Facts About Oral Cancer
Oral cancer accounts for 2.9% of all cancers diagnosed in the U.S. and 1.6% of cancer deaths. Approximately 49,750 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Oral cancer is killing one person every hour in the United States. The death rate of oral cancer is higher than any other cancer as oral cancer goes undiagnosed until it spreads to other part of the body-mostly the lymph nodes in the neck.
Causes of Oral Cancer
Smoking, tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption are the leading causes of oral cancer. HPV and family history of oral cancer are also the potential causes of getting oral cancer. Avoiding tobacco use and alcohol products, preventing oral inflammation and HPV, changing your lifestyle and developing good oral hygiene habits can help you reduce the risk of oral cancer.
Early Signs of Oral Cancer
It’s important to know early signs and symptoms of oral cancer so that it can be detected early. Regular dental visit is recommended as your dentist can notice the early signs of oral cancer. Here are some signs and symptoms you should pay attention to in order to detect oral cancer early on:
- Sores or ulcers that remain longer than 2 or 3 weeks
- Continuous discoloration of soft tissues of the mouth
- Lumps, swelling or hard spots in the mouth
- Numbness in the lips and mouth
- Consistent cough and sore throat
- Difficulty and pain in swallowing
- Lumps on outside of the neck
Oral Cancer Screenings
According to the research, early detection of oral cancer helps increase the survival rate by 80 to 90%. Oral cancer screenings can detect and diagnose oral cancer early so that proper treatment can be done to prevent oral cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) encourages medical professionals to conduct free oral cancer screenings during the month of April and advises people to participate in these screenings to control the risk of oral cancer.
It’s time to help spread the word about oral cancer!