April – springtime, sunshine… or showers – when it comes to the month of April, there’s another thing to be aware of and that’s O R A L C A N C E R! April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
According to the American Cancer Society, in 2017 there is an estimated 49,760 occurrences of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer that will surface, while 9,700 individuals will die this year and 95% will die within 5 years of contracting oral cancer. That’s one person per hour, 24 hours a day. Over the years we have seen a ratio reduction between men to women from 6:1 to current day, 2:1, due to the increased risk of contracting oral cancer with HPV. Don’t let these numbers scare you, we’re here to help you stay well informed about all your oral health matters!
- Tobacco use
- Frequent alcohol consumption (paired with tobacco use can increase the risk of other cancers such as pharygeal or lung cancer)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Signs & Symptoms
- Red/white patches in the mouth that does not heal in 14 days
- Lump or mass felt inside the mouth or neck
- Pain or difficulty swallowing and speaking
- Prolonged voice hoarseness
- Numbing sensation in oral/facial region
Oral Cancer Screening
Here at Shoreline Dental, we provide oral cancer screening with every dental checkup. Becca, our hygienist will perform the following steps:
Step 1: Tongue. We will ask you to extend your tongue as far as it can go so we can examine the sides and underside for white and red patches and/or lumps.
Step 2: Lips and Cheek. We will feel for lumps or bumps, looking for white or red areas that should not be there.
Step 3: Double-Digit Probe. Using two fingers, we examine the floor of your mouth, feeling for lumps, and looking for white and red patches.
Step 4: Palate. We check the roof of your mouth for lumps, areas of softness on the hard palate, and white and red patches.
Step 5: Neck. We feel your neck for enlarged lymph nodes, which could indicate infection.
Step 6: Tonsils. Using a dental mirror, we thoroughly examine your tonsils for enlargement, redness, and/or bumps.
- GET REGULAR DENTAL CHECKUPS! 🙂
- Limit or abstain from alcohol and tobacco use
Getting regular dental checkups will allow the professionals to identify anything suspicious in the mouth. You, in turn, can now also be on the lookout for anything alarming. Early detection is key to fighting the possibilities of mouth cancer. If you notice anything out of the ordinary pertaining to those signs and symptoms above, give us a call at 206.400.0065.
Let’s all live mouth smart and celebrate National Oral Cancer Awareness Month by getting screened at your next dental checkup! Give us a call, again at 20.440.0065, to schedule your next appointment.