Oral Cancer Awareness Month

This April commemorates the 19th Annual Oral Cancer Awareness Month.  As oral healthcare professionals, we take oral cancer screenings seriously during our patients’ regular visits because:

  • -early detection saves lives
  • -there will be an estimated 51,500 new cases of cancers of the mouth and upper throat diagnosed this year
  • -40% of these cases will not survive more than 5 years due to late detection
  • -every hour someone in the United States dies of oral or oropharyngeal cancers

Additionally, we encourage you to be proactive and regularly perform self-checks.

How to perform a self-check for Oral Cancer:

  • -look for lumps, bumps, or swellings that are only on one side of your face
  • -examine the skin on your face for changes in color or size, sores, moles, or growths
  • -press along the sides and front of the neck for tenderness or lumps
  • -pull your lower lip down and look for sores or color changes
  • -examine your inner cheek for red, white, or dark patches
  • -tilt your head back and open your mouth wide to look for any lumps and see if the color is different from usual on the roof of your mouth
  • -extend your tongue and look at the top surface for color and texture and pull your tongue forward to look at both sides for any swellings or color changes
  • -examine the underside of the tongue by placing the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth
  • -look at the floor of your mouth and the underside of your tongue for color changes

If you find anything out of the ordinary—particularly anything that does not heal or go away in two weeks, or that has recently changed—discuss it with your oral health professional or physician immediately.

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer can include:

  • -Sores that do not heal
  • -Lumps on the lip or in the mouth or throat
  • -White or red patches on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth
  • -Unusual bleeding, pain or numbness in the mouth
  • -Sore throats that do not go away, or a feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • -Difficulty or pain with chewing or swallowing

Amarillo Dental Associates, your family dentistry, cares about your oral health.  If you have any concerns or questions, call us at 806-355-7463 to set up an appointment.