Every hour, one person in the United States will die from oral cancer and this year almost 50,000 more Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer. April is Oral Cancer Awareness month, and there is no better time than now to learn about this condition and get screened.

 

The Risk Factors


Scientists have recorded a number of factors that may contribute to the development of oral cancer. Historically, frequent drinkers or smokers over the age of 50 had a higher risk of developing oral cancer symptoms. Smoking and tobacco use is still a major risk factor for contracting oral cancer, however, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients consists of young, healthy, non-smoking individuals with a particular strain of HPV, or Human Papillomavirus.

 

What You Should Look Out For

 

The high rate of deaths from oral cancer is commonly due to catching the condition after it is too late to treat. Until strides can be made to limit this strain of HPV from spreading, increasing public awareness can translate into an increase in the number of survivors of this cancer. Self-checking is another vital practice that can help all of us live longer, healthier lives. Understanding oral cancer symptoms and signs and how to identify them is the first step. Take note of any changes in your mouth such as:

 

  • Sores or sensitive areas that do not heal
  • Swelling in the back of your mouth or in your neck
  • Swollen tonsils or sore throat
  • Red or white patches
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness in your mouth or around your lips
  • Lumps, rough spots or crusty areas
  • Eroded areas on your gums or inside your cheeks
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your jaw or tongue
  • A change in how your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

 

Be sure to make an appointment if any changes in your mouth do not improve or disappear after two to three weeks. If you have urgent concerns, give us a call at (844) 629-7608 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Paresh Naran.