Almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer this year. The 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is only slightly more than 64%. When cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems are reduced.
As the nation prepares to observe the 14th Annual Oral Cancer Awareness Month this April, the American Academy of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology (AAOMP), American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) and the American Dental Association (ADA) have joined the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) in its campaign to remind everyone that regular oral cancer examinations from your dental professional are the best methods to detect oral cancer in its early stages. Regular dental visits can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily.
In between dental visits, it is important for patients to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and to see their dentist if they do not disappear after two weeks.
•a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
•red or white patches
•pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
•a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
•difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
•a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
Factors That May Cause Cancer
Research has identified a number of factors that may contribute to the development of oral cancer. Those at an especially high risk of developing oral cancer are heavy drinkers and smokers older than 50.The human papilloma virus version 16, which is sexually transmitted, is related to the increasing incidence of mouth cancer in non-smoking patients. It is likely that there is a complex interaction of many external and internal factors that play a role in the development of oral cancer.
Your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. Don’t ignore any suspicious lumps or sores that last more than two weeks. Should you discover something suspicious, make an appointment for a prompt examination. Early treatment may well be the key to complete recovery.
For more information about oral cancer, its diagnosis and treatment, visit the Oral Cancer Foundation’s Website.
About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public’s health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA’s state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA’s flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit www.ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website www.MouthHealthy.org.