April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!
During your next checkup, you may want to consider having an Oral Cancer Screening Exam. Over 40,000 people in the US alone are diagnosed with a form of Oral Cancer each year. Fortunately, 84% of oral cancers can be detected early by your dental health professional. However, if not caught early, the effects of oral cancer can be devastating.
Catching the early signs of oral cancer is extremely important. If detected early, oral cancers have a much higher rate of successful treatment. Here at Kazien Dental in Richmond, we provide all patients with a quick, simple and painless Oral Cancer Screening Exam to determine if there is any need for concern.
How Do You Know if You’re at Risk For Oral Cancer?
Anyone can have oral cancer, however, there are a few factors that may increase the likelihood of developing this disease.
The first major risk factor is tobacco consumption. If you smoke tobacco or have in the past, your chances of developing oral cancer skyrocket. Secondly, alcohol consumption can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. If you have a history of using either, you may want to book an oral cancer screening.It should be noted that even individuals who don’t have a history of either smoking or alcohol consumption can still develop oral cancer.
Additionally, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women, with most being over the age of 55. Also, an unhealthy diet and prolonged sun exposure can increase your risk.
HPV-Related Oral Cancers
HPV related oral cancers are becoming more and more common. HPV, or human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the united states. HPV is the same virus that causes cervical cancer.
HPV related oral cancers are usually harder to diagnose since symptoms aren’t always obvious to the individual who may be developing the disease. Unfortunately, individuals with HPV related oral cancers tend to be young and healthy individuals.
Be sure to talk to your dental health professional if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms that last longer than two weeks:
- Mouth or throat pain
- Bleeding in the mouth or throat
- Sores that don’t heal (and possibly bleed)
- A growth, lump or thickening of the lining or skin in your mouth
- Difficult or painful chewing, swallowing or speaking
Even if you’re not experiencing any of these symptoms, you may want to get checked out. Many oral cancers are treatable if caught early enough. Getting checked out could save your life. And, even if you don’t have oral cancer, getting tested may bring peace of mind.
Getting tested is quick, easy and painless and will determine if you have any need for concern. If any abnormalities are detected, we’ll refer you to a specialist to receive the care and examination required. Here at Kaizen Dental, we donate $5 of each Velscope oral cancer screening to the BC Cancer Foundation.