Oral Cancer Awareness Month; Do you know the signs and symptoms?
During April, many dental associations partner with the Oral Cancer Foundation to raise awareness of oral and oropharyngeal (neck and throat) cancers. Currently, of those newly diagnosed, about half will be alive in 5 years. The good news is, if oral cancer is caught early, the long-term survival rate increases. When you go in for your regular dental check-up, your dental professional often completes an oral cancer screening for early detection. Did you know that you can also complete a routine self-exam that takes about 5 minutes once a month?
Here are possible signs and symptoms of oral and oropharyngeal cancer:
- Any sore or ulceration that does not heal within 14 days
- A red, white, or black discoloration of the soft tissues of the mouth
- Any abnormality that bleeds easily when touched
- A lump or hard spot in the tissue, usually the border of the tongue
- Tissue raised above that which surround it; a growth
- A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, that does not heal
- A lump or thickening that develops in the mouth
- A painless, firm, fixated lump on the outside of the neck, that has been there for at least two weeks
- Difficulty swallowing
The Oral Cancer Foundation’s Check Your Mouth TM created a self-discovery initiative that looks for signs and symptoms of oral cancer between dental visits. At https://checkyourmouth.org/wp/ you can find the steps on how to complete your own thorough self-exam.
Remember that the signs and symptoms are persistent and not resolving. See a dental professional if they do not improve or disappear after two-three weeks. You can always call your dental professional right away if you have any immediate concerns.
Oral Cancer Foundation http://www.oralcancer.org