While we are currently temporarily closed due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we are always doing our part to keep our community educated and informed about the facts. Every April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, something that not everyone is properly educated about. Roughly 53,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with this type of cancer every year, and only 60 percent of people diagnosed will live longer than 5 years. Unfortunately, oral cancer, or cancer of the head and neck, is aggressive and does best when it is treated early.
Signs & Symptoms
Being aware of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer is half the battle in keeping yourself safe. Unfortunately, many times, early signs of oral cancer are easily mistaken for a toothache or a cold. If you notice any of the following symptoms lasting for longer than a couple of weeks, it’s important to see medical attention:
- Mouth sores that don’t heal
- Lumps in the cheek or the neck
- A white or red spot in the mouth
- Ongoing mouth pain
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing
- Changes in your voice
- Jaw swelling
- Loosening teeth
- Weight loss
- Consistent bad breath
There are a variety of causes that may result in the development of oral cancer. Human papillomavirus 16 is the leading cause of this cancer, but other risk factors include tobacco, alcohol, sun exposure, age and diet. Those over the age of 40 are more likely to develop this type of cancer.
Early detection helps minimize the risk of oral cancer becoming fatal. Keep an eye out for signs that something is off in your mouth and make sure to seek treatment accordingly.