At Mitchell Dentistry, we don’t wait for April to come around to create awareness about the dangers of oral cancer. In fact, every time you come in for a cleaning or a treatment, we are taking a good look inside your mouth to make sure all is well. And if it is not, we provide you with guidance on the next steps for further investigation.
But since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we want you to be even more vigilant. More than 21,000 men and 9,000 women in the United States annually receive oral cancer diagnoses, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Oral cancer can strike in the mouth and throat with most of these cancers beginning in the flat cells—squamous cells—that cover the surfaces of the mouth, tongue and lips. Some of the risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, infection with human papillomavirus, sun exposure, diet, betel nut use, and personal history of oral cancer.
Symptoms to watch for include patches inside the mouth or on the lips, a sore on the mouth or lips that doesn’t heal, bleeding in the mouth, loose teeth, pain or difficulty swallowing, lump in the neck, numbness of lower lip and chin, difficulty wearing dentures and a persistent earache.
Call our office or your physician for an appointment immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
We are very concerned about the prevalence of oral cancer and we are involved in the community’s fight to end this insidious disease. Throughout the year, I am a guest speaker at local support groups, providing guidance to those who are suffering with head and neck cancers.
And for the past five years, our entire staff has created a team to participate in the annual Head & Neck Cancer 5K – this year it takes place on Saturday, April 28. Please call our office if you would like to join our team (T-shirt included!).
As always, please contact us with any questions about caring for your teeth, mouth, and gums.
We welcome your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.
All the best from our family to yours,