April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, which means now is a great time to visit your dentist for an oral cancer screening. Oral cancer appears in the mouth and throat with the majority of cancer beginning in the flat, thin cells (squamous cells) that line your lips, tongue, and mouth. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2019 about 53,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with one of the forms of oral cancer and an estimated 10,860 will die of these cancers.
During an oral cancer screening, a dentist will look inside your mouth for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. If a dentist is able to identify oral cancer early, there is a better chance for a cure. When precancerous lesions that lead to oral cancer are identified at an early stage, the lesions are easiest to remove.
You may be at risk of developing oral cancer if you:
– Smoke cigarettes, pipes, cigars, or chew tobacco
– Are over age 55
– Have human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD)
– Consume alcohol heavily
– Have an immune system weakened by medications
– Are exposed to ultraviolet rays outside for long periods of time
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer is approximately 59 percent. Oral cancer is twice as more prevalent in men than in women. The average age for people diagnosed with oral cancer is 62. Death from oral cancer is nearly twice as common in some minorities, particularly black males than it is in whites.
See a dentist or physician immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
– A lump that can be felt inside your mouth or on your neck
– Red or white patches inside your mouth or lips
– Hoarseness lasting an extended period of time
– Pain, numbness, or soreness in the mouth that doesn’t heal
– Pain or difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking
– Bleeding in the mouth
– Swelling of your jaws
– A sore on the lips that won’t go away
– Loosening teeth
Babylon Dental Care provides cosmetic and general dentistry services, including oral cancer screenings, to patients across New York. Find out why so many choose Dr. Clifford Brown, Dr. Stephen Peck, Dr. Harold Gaynes, and our team of highly skilled associates to help them keep their teeth healthy year-round. Call us today at (631) 983-6665 to schedule an appointment.