April is Oral Cancer Awareness month, but at 12 Oaks Dental in Austin, it’s an important topic all year round. Oral cancer may not be in the news as often as other cancers, but nearly 7,000 people will die and approximately 36,0000 new cases will be diagnosed this year alone. (Source: ACS, revised 02.26.2013)
Oral Cancer Symptoms
Oral cancer isn’t difficult to diagnose, but the danger is that it’s often caught in late stages when it’s spread to other parts of the body. If you notice any of the following symptoms in between checkups, please call us right away:
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- A lump or thickening of the lining of the mouth
- Difficult or painful chewing or swallowing
Who Gets Oral Cancer
More than 80% of oral cancers in men (65% in women) occur in tobacco and alcohol users, and heavy tobacco and alcohol use increases the risk 300 times that of non-users. (Source: National Institutes of Health, 2006)
Notice we don’t say “smokers.” There is NO safe tobacco product, despite what you might hear. Even smokeless tobacco, pipes, and clove cigarettes increase your risk nearly 100 times more than non-tobacco users.
HPV and Oral Cancer
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that causes approximately 25% of head and neck cancers, including oral cancer.
You probably have annual and periodic health checkups and cancer screenings. Why not put your dental care on that list as well? Please call our Austin dental office at 512.346.5196, especially if you’ve been putting off your regular checkup. We’d like to see you for a long, long time!