Do you have a friend or loved one who is a cancer survivor? Are you a survivor yourself?
We all know that finding and treating cancer early can be life-saving.
Every day in the U.S., 100 new people are newly diagnosed with an oral cancer, and one person dies from oral cancer every hour of the day.
Oral cancer screenings can save lives
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, the death rate from oral cancer is high not because it’s hard to discover or diagnose, but because it’s not being found early enough. As reported in The New York Times, more than 60 percent of oral cancers are not discovered until later stages, when they are more difficult to treat and stop.
Your dentist can help
Dr. Whitmore has received professional training in recognizing oral cancer, and he will check you carefully for oral cancer as part of your regular wellness visit with Whitmore Dental. He’ll examine the base of your tongue and the insides of your cheeks, looking for flat, painless white or red spots or small sores. If we find a suspicious spot in your mouth, we will refer you for a biopsy.
Being aware of the signs of oral cancer is another way to save lives. Signs of oral cancer include:
- A sore that does not heal or bleeds easily
- A growth of a lump, a bump, or a thickening in the tissues inside the mouth
- A small eroded area or a crust in your mouth
- A change in the color of oral tissue
- An unexplained swelling in the bone
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth
If you experience any of these warning signs, please contact us.
A vaccine that helps prevent oral cancer
One cause of oral cancer is infection with the HPV virus. For people younger than age 27, the HPV vaccine (designed to prevent cervical cancer, also caused by the virus) can prevent HPV infection. The vaccine is recommended at age 11 or 12 for girls and boys.
In addition to watching for the warning signs above, the following actions can help you prevent oral cancer:
- Quit smoking and avoid tobacco in all forms
- Don’t drink heavily
- Wear lip balm with sunscreen when you go out
- See your dentist for regular check-ups and oral cancer screenings
To schedule a wellness visit – including an oral cancer prevention screening – contact Janet at 877-779-4486.