Oral Cancer Awareness MonthDid you know almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer this year alone?
Or, that the 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is just more than 64 percent? When cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems are reduced.
The month of April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month and this blog will focus on the causes, symptoms, and home care remedies for those with oral cancer.
Research has identified a number of factors that contribute to the development of oral and throat cancers. Smokers and excessive alcohol drinkers, older than 50, are the most at risk population. In recent news, the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted, has been associated with cancers of the throat, or oropharyngeal area. HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancers are related to the increasing incidence of throat cancers in non-smoking adults.
Early symptoms of oral or throat cancer may include:
• a sore/irritated spot that does not heal
• red or white patches
• thickened or rough patches
• tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips
• difficulty with chewing, swallowing or talking
• a change in your bite
During a dental visit, your dentist can discuss your health history and examine any suspicious signs of oral and/or throat cancer. The screening will consist of a visual inspection of the mouth and palpation of the jaw and neck. Regular visits to your dentist can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early.
Those undergoing treatment for oral cancers can alleviate further problems by:
• keeping the mouth moist at all times
• drink lots of water
• chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy
• use a saliva substitute