Oral Cancer Awareness Month
The weather is getting warmer, birds are singing, and days are getting longer. Yes, with the month of April comes spring, but April also brings Oral Cancer Awareness month – yearly reminder of the need for an oral cancer screening at your Boston dental office Dental Health and Wellness Boston.
The major causes of oral cancer are tobacco use and HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). While poor oral health can cause oral cancer it historically has most often associated with tobacco use. Almost 80% of people with oral cancer cells have used tobacco. That includes both people who smoke and/ or use chewing tobacco. While chewing tobacco may cause a decrease in lung cancer it has a negative effect on the rates of oral cancers, pancreatic cancer, periodontal disease, and the chronic infections that it produces may even link it to heart disease as well. Statistically speaking, the other major cause of oral cancer is one of the most common viruses today. HPV infects nearly 20 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This sexually transmitted disease is now being linked to increased instances of other health issues and is known to be found in over 50% of newly diagnosed cases of oral cancer in both men and women.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer? A swollen tongue or throat, lumps in the oral cavity or on the neck, numbness in the mouth, white or red spots visible on the cheeks, gums, or flesh underneath the tongue, a hoarse voice lasting an extended time, pain when chewing and/or swallowing, and bleeding sores that do not heal within the oral cavity. Most abnormalities in the oral cavity heal within 7-10 days, so if you notice a bump or lump, or a white or a red spot appearing for more than 2 weeks please call Dental Health and Wellness Boston and set up an appointment to have an oral screening as a part of your next dental visit.
According to a Washington Post Article, (http://c.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/modern-smiles-dr-ali/2013/apr/6/oral-cancer-month-april/) oral cancer kills someone every hour of everyday. This high lethality rate is mostly due to individuals not getting oral cancer screenings, leaving oral cancer undetected until it is too late. Once diagnosed 40% of patients die within 5 years, and 78% die within 5 years if diagnosed with stage IV cancer. Early detection of oral cancer significantly decrease the potential for death, screenings that are done by Dr. Jill B. Smith, DMD and her trained hygienist at routine cleaning appointments. So when you think of spring think of Dental Health and Wellness Boston, and make sure you have your routine dental cleaning appointment scheduled today.
Guest blogger Brian Cabral RDH: Brian joined our Boston dental office last summer and has been a welcome addition to the team at Dental Health and Wellness Boston. Brian is an experienced hygienist who is experienced in oral cancer detection, diagnosis and treatment of gum disease such as gingivitis and periodontitis, and health and wellness.