Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Oral Cancer Health

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

Though statistics of oral cancers are on the decline, this year, approximately 36,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer and approximately 6800 people will die from complications of oral cancer. Oral cancer is double in statistics for men over women. The instance of oral HPV causing oral cancer is on the rise. Most instances of oral cancer are in patients over 55.

Oral cancer includes any cancer of the mouth and throat. Most often, cancer would start in the tongue, tonsils, oropharynx, gums, or floor of the mouth. Less often, it will start in the lips or salivary glands.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer include:

  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • A mouth sore that won’t heal
  • Bleeding in your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Problems or pain with swallowing
  • A lump in your neck
  • An earache

The majority of cases of oral cancer are linked to oral tobacco use. Also, as mentioned before, a rise in oral cancer due to HPV is a concern. Reduce the risk of oral cancer by not using any type of tobacco product, and through using precautions in intercourse.

Treatment for oral cancer is usually surgical removal of the tumor spots. Depending on the extent of the cancer, additional radiation and chemotherapy may be used. The difficult subsequence is the recovery of the cancer patient, including a very difficult physical therapy. Patients have to relearn how to eat, chew, and speak.

Oral cancer is the sixth largest cancer in the world, with European nations with larger statistics in these cancers than in the United States. When caught early, remission or recovery from oral cancer is 90-100%.

Ask for a screening for any of the above symptoms. In the Jacksonville area see Dr. James McCall for a VELscope screening. The screening is relatively simple, and could save your life.

For help or a support group, visit the Oral Cancer Foundation website.

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