Take Action This Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Oral Cancer Awareness Month serves as a crucial reminder of the need for early detection and consistent screenings. Here’s why it’s essential to remain alert and schedule regular dental visits:

1. Understanding Oral Cancer

  • Defining Oral Cancer: Oral cancer encompasses cancers found in the mouth, lips, tongue, cheeks, throat, and floor of the mouth.
  • Statistics: Approximately 54,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer annually, and it leads to nearly 10,000 deaths each year.

2. Risk Factors

  • Tobacco and Alcohol Use: Smoking and excessive drinking significantly increase the risk.
  • HPV Infection: The human papillomavirus (HPV) is linked to a rising number of oral cancer cases.
  • Age and Gender: Men over 50 are at higher risk, but it can affect anyone.

3. Symptoms to Watch For

  • Persistent Mouth Sores: Sores that don’t heal within two weeks.
  • Lumps and Thick Patches: Unusual growths or thickened areas in the mouth.
  • Difficulty Swallowing or Chewing: Persistent issues with swallowing or jaw movement.
  • Unexplained Bleeding: Bleeding without an apparent cause.

4. Importance of Early Detection

  • Better Prognosis: Early detection significantly increases survival rates.
  • Less Invasive Treatment: Early-stage cancers are easier to treat and often require less aggressive interventions.

5. Role of Dental Checkups

  • Routine Screenings: Dentists perform thorough oral examinations during regular checkups, looking for early signs of cancer.
  • Advanced Diagnostic Tools: Some dental offices use special lights or dyes to identify abnormal tissues.
  • Professional Guidance: Dentists can provide advice on quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption, both major risk factors.

6. How Your Dentist Can Help

  • Education and Awareness: Dentists educate patients about the risks and symptoms of oral cancer.
  • Regular Monitoring: Keeping track of changes in oral health through regular visits.
  • Biopsies and Referrals: If your dentist identifies any concerning areas, they can conduct a biopsy or refer you to a specialist for further assessment.

7. Take Action During Oral Cancer Awareness Month

  • Schedule a Screening: Book an appointment for a dental checkup and oral cancer screening.
  • Stay Informed: Learn more about the risk factors and symptoms of oral cancer.
  • Spread the Word: Encourage family and friends to be proactive about their oral health.

Early detection saves lives. Regular dental checkups are a vital part of catching oral cancer early and ensuring effective treatment. Don’t wait—schedule your screening today! Call us today at 605-250-4651 (Minnesota Ave) 605-638-9986 (Eastside) to schedule an appointment at Sioux Falls Smiles in Sioux Falls, SD. You can also schedule online.