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April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

We are all familiar with common cancers such as breast cancer, lymphoma or leukemia, but what about oral cancer? In honor of April shedding light on Oral Cancer Awareness, our dentist near Itasca wanted to do our part to make sure that patients are taking the steps that they need to in order to stay healthy. Oral cancer collectively kills nearly one person every hour of every day of the year. Talk about a startling statistic!

Know the Symptoms

Understanding what the symptoms of oral cancer are is an important step in staying safe. Catching oral cancer in its early stages is crucial in increasing your chances of survival. If the following symptoms stick around for more than 2 weeks, consult your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing
  • White or red patches inside of the mouth
  • Tenderness or pain in the mouth or on the lips
  • A lingering sore or ulcer
  • Unexpected weight loss

While the above symptoms are not surefire signs of oral cancer, it is better to get them checked out to be safe.

Causes & Risk Factors

DNA mutations of the cell cause oral cancer to develop. It is not clear-cut what causes the mutations to develop, risk factors include age, the use of alcohol and tobacco, HPV, sun exposure and gender. Males are more than twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women.

Prevention

Thankfully, there are measures that you can take to reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. Schedule regular appointments with our dentist near Itasca, use sunscreen or lip balm when your lips are exposed to the sun, avoid tobacco use and only consume alcohol in moderation.