Know Your Mouth, Oral Cancer Signs, Symptoms and Prevention

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No one wants to spend time thinking about oral cancer. However, with more than 43,000 Americans estimated to be diagnosed this year, educating yourself on prevention methods, early detection, and treatment options are more important than ever.

While the number of people expected to be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers is concerning, the good news is that ensuring early detection is as easy as attending your routine dental exams every six months. What you may not realize is that oral cancer screening is part of your regular exam.

A dentist can see and feel precancerous tissue changes and early cancer and can diagnose them during the curable stages. When oral cancer is detected early, the survival rate is an encouraging 80% to 90%.

Due to the rapidly growing number of HPV-related oral cancer diagnoses, people 18 years and older should get screened yearly.

WHAT IS AN ORAL CANCER SCREENING?

An oral cancer screening takes only three minutes. It consists of a verbal, visual, and physical examination and includes the following:

– A thorough review of your oral health history, as well as your overall health history, which includes questions that help assess your level of risk for mouth cancer

– A visual inspection of all the areas of your mouth and throat in an effort to locate any abnormalities, such as sores and red or white patches; this inspection includes the lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, the floor of the mouth, the roof of the mouth, and a far-back section of your tongue.

WHAT IS AN ORAL CANCER SCREENING?

An oral cancer screening takes only three minutes. It consists of a verbal, visual, and physical examination and includes the following:

– A thorough review of your oral health history, as well as your overall health history, which includes questions that help assess your level of risk for mouth cancer

– A visual inspection of all the areas of your mouth and throat in an effort to locate any abnormalities, such as sores and red or white patches; this inspection includes the lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, a floor of the mouth, a roof of the mouth, and the far back section of your tongue.

ORAL CANCER PREVENTION TIPS

While oral cancer is prevalent, there are measures you can take to minimize your risk.

– Avoid smoking and the use of all tobacco products.
– Limit or refrain from drinking alcohol.
– Avoid overexposure to the sun, and use sunblock on your skin and lips.
– Practice safe sex.
– Maintain a healthy diet.

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Written by Martin

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