Oral cancer also known as oropharyngeal cancer affects lives everywhere every day. April is oral cancer awareness month. One of our goals at Carolina Dentistry at the StateLine is to educate our patients about all things dental related.
Oral cancer can affect anyone but there are risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing oral cancer. These risk factors include but are not limited to:
-Tobacco and alcohol use. The combination of these together greatly increases the risk.
-Age. As we age the risk for oral cancer increases. Those over the age of 40 are at a greater risk.
-HPV. There has been an increase in oral cancer with those individuals who have HPV, specifically the HPV 16 type.
-Over exposure to the sun. Over exposure to the sun has been linked to cancer located on the lips.
-Poor diet. A lack of the proper amounts of fruits in vegetables has increased the risk for oral cancer.
Your dentist should be performing an oral cancer exam at least once a year at your routine dental cleaning. At this time a check for lumps, lesions or discolored areas will be noted. You may be asked to see an oral surgeon, but do not be alarmed. In most cases lumps are not oral cancer. It is always best to get a second opinion.
If you have difficulty swallowing, feel a lump in your throat, notice white patches or have irritation in your mouth or throat please inform your dental provider. The chances of survival greatly increase with early detection and treatment of oral cancer.
Carolina Dentistry at the StateLine looks to inform our patients and bring recognition to this sometimes forgotten form of cancer. For those cancer fighters and survivors keep up the fight, we stand behind you!