April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!
Here’s what you need to know.
Over 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a form of oral cancer this year. Education and early detection are some of our most important tools in the fight against cancer.
How Do I Know if I’m at Risk?
As with other types of cancer, people who have a relative or relatives who have been diagnosed with oral cancer are at greater risk. Consumption of tobacco in any form, drinking alcohol, and contraction of the human papillomavirus (HPV) all increase your risk.
What Can I Do to Decrease My Risk?
Reducing or eliminating the consumption of tobacco and alcohol can decrease your risk of developing oral cancer. Children, teenagers, and young adults can also decrease their risk by getting their HPV vaccine.
How is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?
Your dental health care providers will regularly perform a screening, sometimes abbreviated as an “OCS.” If they notice any suspicious areas, they may take a biopsy or refer you to an oral surgeon.
If you have a sore or discolored area in your mouth that won’t heal after two weeks, you should contact your health care provider for an exam.
As with all types of cancer, early detection is vital. It’s important to regularly see your healthcare providers for regular check-ups and exams. You can also regularly give yourself an exam at home between checkups by a professional. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your local health care provider to set up an appointment.