When you think of April, what comes to mind? For many, it’s beautiful spring days and Easter. However, this month is important for another reason: it’s Oral Cancer Awareness Month! This year, an estimated 54,000 US patients will be diagnosed with this condition, which could be life-threatening if not detected in the early stages. Fortunately, that’s where your dentist in Dublin comes in. Keep reading to learn about the symptoms, risk factors, and when to schedule an appointment.
A Few Important Symptoms to Look Out for
Oral cancer, just like any other, manifests symptoms that vary based on the individual. Those related to mouth cancers might include sores, red or white patches on the gums or tonsils, lumps, or growths. Throat cancer symptoms often involve a sore throat, persistent cough, or feeling that something’s caught in your throat.
3 Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
Researchers have identified several factors that increase oral cancer risk:
- Tobacco & Heavy Alcohol: Tobacco contains carcinogens that can lead to oral cancer. Similarly, the body digests alcohol into acetaldehyde, another carcinogen contributing to the disease.
- HPV: HPV is a sexually transmitted virus known to trigger several oral cancers. In particular, it can cause throat cancers at the back of the mouth. Since many of the symptoms can only be detected by a trained eye, early diagnosis and intervention is crucial.
- Biology: Men are twice as likely to get oral cancer as women due to contrasting genetics.
When to See a Dentist for Cancer Risks
You should contact your dentist if relevant symptoms persist beyond a two-week period.
As part of the oral cancer screening, your dentist will check your oral cavity before moving to the throat. The exam will finish once they’ve felt your jaw and neck for lumps. While your dentist won’t know immediately if their screening results suggest cancer, they may refer you for further testing as symptoms develop.
April may prove to be a very busy month, but you should always make time to acknowledge and prevent the spread of oral cancer. Who knows? Practicing such awareness could make all the difference in someone getting the early intervention they need!
About the Author
Dr. Eric Buck is an excellent dentist who serves the community of Dublin, Oh. A member of the American Dental Association, the Ohio Dental Association, and the Columbus Dental Society, he uses his expertise to provide valuable mentorship on treating advanced dental concerns. Being eager to provide top dental care and help patients achieve lasting, beautiful smiles, he continues to pursue education through groups like the Spear Education Society. He currently practices at Distinctive Smiles of Dublin and can be reached at his website or by phone at (614)-792-1800.