Awareness is a good habit. But there’s another vital step when oral cancer is the concern.

The facts about oral cancer are clear. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation thousands of deaths occur yearly as a result of the disease.

Many of those deaths could be prevented with a simple action.

A new concern

No doubt, awareness is key to confronting oral cancer. It’s impact on your mouth and general health should be your focus.

The most vulnerable areas are your mouth, tongue, and throat. Greater than 90 percent of all diagnosed cases can be traced to lifestyle issues.

The most common causes are the use of tobacco and alcohol. There’s another emerging cause that goes beyond tobacco use and those who infrequently drink alcohol.

HPV16 or the human papilloma virus is a new threat. It currently ranks as the leading source of new oral cancer cases.

It joins other noted causes that include poor oral hygiene, diet, and over exposure to ultra-violet radiation.

Changes you should be aware of

Oral cancer comes with warning signs and symptoms. Any noticeable changes in your mouth, on your tongue, or in your throat require attention.

Many symptoms can present without pain or discomfort. Give attention to any lesions or sore areas in your mouth that fail to heal after two or more weeks.

Be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Patches of red or white skin in your mouth
  • Thick skin areas or lumps in your mouth or on your tongue
  • Numbness in your face, mouth, or neck
  • Feeling as though something is caught in your throat
  • Mouth bleeding
  • A consistent sore throat

That was fast

An oral cancer screening is your best solution for early diagnosis. The screen is fast, safe, and painless and can be done as part of your next dental examination and teeth cleaning appointment.

Your oral cancer screening can pinpoint any abnormal tissue areas throughout your mouth. Any suspicious areas can be biopsied to determine if additional treatment is necessary.

Contact Dr. Watkins or Dr. Kaihara in Washington D.C. or McLean, VA about any concerns you have about oral cancer. Schedule your next dental examination and teeth cleaning and ask about an oral cancer screening.