Early Detection of Oral Cancer Saves Lives

In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, several Smile Generation-approved offices will be offering free oral cancer screenings throughout the month of April. Oral cancer is not a rare disease.  Approximately 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. It kills one person every hour of every day, and over 100 new individuals will be diagnosed with it each day. The good news is that it can often be found early in its development, through a simple, painless, and quick screening.

Who should get screened?

Every adult should get screened. Oral cancer can often be caught early, even as a pre-cancer. With early detection, survival rates are high and the side-effects from treatment are at their lowest. Like other screenings you engage in, such as cervical, skin, prostate, colon and breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages. Such screenings can and should be a part of your annual health check-ups.

What are the risk factors?

Understanding the causes of cancer will help prevent the disease. Age is often named as a risk factor for oral cancer. Historically, it occurs in those over the age of 40.

There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long term historic problem and cause, and the other is through exposure to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), which is now the leading cause of oral cancers in the US. This virus is also responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women.  Young, healthy, non-smokers are part of the quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population, due to the connection to this virus.

Early Indicators:

  • Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth
  • Any sore which does not heal within 14 days
  • Hoarseness which lasts for a prolonged period of time

Advanced Indicators:

  • A sensation that something is stuck in your throat
  • Numbness in the oral region
  • Difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Ear pain which occurs on one side only
  • A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal
  • A lump or thickening which develops in the mouth or on the neck

An oral cancer screening should be conducted every year, so take advantage of this free offer and get screened today.  Below is a list of participating Smile Generation-approved offices that will offer complimentary oral cancer screenings.

April 5, 12, 19, 26 between 8am and 10am

Screenings will be held at:

April 11, 9am-12nn

April 14, 10am -3pm

April 14 and 21, by appointment between 8am -12nn

April 26, 8am – 3pm

April 28

 

For more information about oral cancer, please visit www.oralcancer.org.

 

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