Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know April is Oral Cancer Awareness month? About 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer and nearly 10,860 people die annually. It is twice as common in men as women. Oral cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity. Which is the lip, tongue, mouth, and throat. Through visual inspection, your dentist can detect abnormalities at an early stage resulting in less extensive and more successful treatment.

5 Myths and The Actual Facts

  1. Oral Cancer is rare.

Fact: More people are diagnosed with oral cancer than stomach cancer.

  1. I’m too young to get oral cancer.

Fact: It’s now more common for our younger patients to develop oral cancer because of the link to human papillomavirus (HPV.)

  1. I don’t smoke so I can’t get oral cancer.

Fact: Smoking does increase your risk for oral cancer but it isn’t the only factor. Drinking alcohol, HPV, and genetics play a role in developing the disease.

  1. No pain, no problem.

Fact: Not all cancer spots can cause pain.

  1. I will know when I have oral cancer.

Fact: It’s not easy to identify, it can go undetected in your tonsils, lymph nodes, and the base of your tongue.

Causes

The exact cause of oral cancer is unknown, but here are some things that can put people more at risk.

  • Tobacco of any form – cigarettes/ e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco.
  • Alcohol
  • Excessive sun exposure on your lips
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Weakened immune systemcta 2.png

Signs and Symptoms or Oral Cancer

  • Mouth sore that doesn’t heal
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing and moving the jaw and tongue
  • Jaw swelling
  • Lump in the neck
  • Constant bad breath

A lot of these signs and symptoms can be caused by other things, schedule an appointment if any of these conditions go on for more than two weeks.

Prevention

Stop using tobacco or don’t start. It exposes the cells in your mouth to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals. Drink alcohol in moderation. Excessive alcohol can aggravate cells and make them more susceptible to cancer.

Protect your lips from the sun! Constant exposure increases the risk of cancer. Be sure to use lip balm with SPF!

Last but not least, see your dentist regularly! It’s recommended to have an exam and cleaning every six months. Schedule yours today!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

 

April: Oral Cancer Awareness Month

APRIL 2015

Early Detection Saves Lives

Oral cancer is nothing to take lightly.  Causing one death every hour, there will be approximately 45,750 new cases diagnosed this year alone.  It also tends to strike men twice as likely as women.

Contributing factors of oral cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (3+ drinks per day)
  • Over exposure to UV light
  • HPV Virus (sexually transmitted)

7% of diagnosed oral cancer cases that have no identified cause

Smokers are 3 times more likely to develop oral cancer.  Cigars and pipes pose a higher risk than standard cigarettes.

This is how to reduce your risk of oral cancer:

  • Brush & floss regularly
  • Do not use tobacco products
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Limit sun exposure and always use SPF sunscreen
  • Regular exercise
  • Nutritional supplements ( Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Zinc, Fish oil)
  • Oral cancer screening at your bi-annual dentist exam and cleaning

Cancer FightingThe way you prepare your meals can play a role as well.  Rather than frying food, give steaming or baking a try!  Bonus: these techniques are also more figure friendly

Cancer fighting foods:

  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Vegetables
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Green Teas
  • Tomatoes

84% of oral cancer cases can be detected early by your dentist

Dental check-ups are vital to oral cancer detection.  Yes, you should be going in for dental check-ups twice a year anyways; however, request you get regularly scheduled oral cancer screenings as well!

Oral Cancer - spotOral Cancer Signs to Check at Home

  • Check the entirety of your mouth:
  • All the way inside of your cheeks
  • Underside and top of your tongue
  • Roof of your mouth
  • Lymph nodes

You’re looking for discoloration, lumps, asymmetrical swelling or any other abnormalities that you happen to see.  Even if you aren’t too sure about it, it never hurts to give us a call, ask questions and come in to have it checked out.

Get involved.  Help raise awareness.  Spread the word.  Get tested!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524

and

696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501