April 5, 2018
Cancer kills millions of people around the world each year, and although relatively few of those deaths result from oral cancer, that doesn’t mean we’re free to ignore this disease. In fact, April is the official Oral Cancer Awareness Month. That’s why we’re reminding you about some of the facts surrounding this devastating condition. Hopefully, we can motivate you to head to your dentist to get an oral cancer screening in Carrollton!
Oral Cancer — A Very Real Threat
The majority of oral cancer cases have a direct connection to tobacco use. But does that mean you have no reason to worry if you’ve never smoked? No. Anyone can fall victim to this disease, including folks who believe they don’t have a single risk factor for it. Still, it’s good to be aware that certain groups, including the following, are more likely to develop oral cancer than others.
- Older men. Men in their 50s and older are at a higher risk than females and young people.
- Heavy drinkers. Overconsumption of alcohol may hinder the body’s ability to fight cancer-causing free radicals.
- Those who eat a poor diet. Proper nutrition, which includes lots of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, is key in fending off all kinds of cancer.
- Sun lovers. As much everyone loves to take a road trip to the coast to relax on the beach, all that time under the sun can take its toll. Overexposure to UV rays can cause melanoma to form on the lips.
- Anyone with the human papilloma virus. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease, and many people aren’t even aware that they’ve contracted it.
Recognize the Signs of Oral Cancer
Of course, you can’t diagnose oral cancer by yourself, but there are some strong indications that you should visit a medical professional to get checked out:
- Strange lumps or swelling anywhere in or around your mouth.
- Patches of discoloration
- Unexplained bleeding or pain in the mouth
- Pain in the ears or other areas of the face
- Unexplained changes to your voice
- A persistent cough
- Trouble chewing, swallowing, or speaking
- A persistent sore throat
- Loose teeth that have no apparent dental cause
Head to Your Dentist for an Oral Cancer Screening
While you should always be alert to indications of oral cancer, you should always visit your family dentist in Carrollton at least once a year for a professional oral cancer screening. Dentists and hygienists have been trained to spot early signs of the disease; they use a simple and quick tactile and visual examination to check for any suspicious areas. The process is painless and is usually included as part of a routine exam.
If your dentist notices any red flags, they’ll suggest that you head to a medical doctor for further testing.
Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time for you and your family to educate yourselves about this disease and head to your dentist for your annual screening.
About Your Dentist in Carrollton
Dr. Henry A. Campbell leads the team in our practice. He puts his years of experience to work to help his patients catch oral cancer before it progresses to the point where it requires extensive and painful treatment. If it’s time for your next screening, please contact our office at 972-939-2888.
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