Your peace of mind is important. This is especially true when you have concerns about your health.
Oral cancer awareness gives you the opportunity to increase your peace of mind. It should be due to the fact that you can do something about the thousands of deaths that result from oral cancer annually according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
Prevention is a significant part of being aware.
Be assured that oral cancer is preventable. Knowing what to look for and where you’re vulnerable are priorities.
Oral cancer primarily affects your mouth, tongue, and throat. Over 90 percent of diagnosed cases can be traced to your lifestyle.
The most common causes involve tobacco and alcohol use. But new research reveals that your vulnerability also extends to non-tobacco use and the infrequent use of alcohol.
The human papilloma virus (HPV16) is responsible for a number of oral cancer diagnoses. In fact, it’s currently the leading source of cases.
Other sources remain. Poor oral health habits, diet, and over exposure to ultra-violet radiation are common causes.
What to look for
Awareness involves knowing the symptoms and signs of oral cancer. Be aware of any changes that occur in your mouth, on your tongue, or in your throat.
You won’t always feel pain. Sores or lesions that remain for weeks without healing deserve your attention.
Be aware of these common symptoms:
- Red or white patches in your mouth
- Thickened skin or a lump in your mouth or on your tongue
- Numbness in your mouth, face, or neck
- Feeling as though something is caught in your throat
- Mouth bleeding
- Consistent sore throat or irritation
What to do
Preventive dentistry gives you a perfect opportunity to maintain your oral cancer awareness. Routine dental examinations and teeth cleanings are a good time to request an oral cancer screening.
An oral cancer screen is fast and pain-free. It’s designed to detect any areas of abnormal tissue.
Suspicious tissue will be sent to an outside source for biopsy. You’ll be informed if there’s any need for follow-up or further treatment.
Contact your dentist in Knoxville about any suspicious or abnormal looking tissue in your mouth. Schedule your next dental examination and teeth cleaning and request an oral cancer screening during your appointment.