We love to help our friends and colleagues at the American Dental Association (ADA) share with you that "April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, an annual observation that underscores the fact that early detection of oral cancer can decrease morbidity and increase long-term survival."
We asked Dr. Burchett and Dr. Patton to briefly share some helpful information about this deadly, but detectable and often preventable disease. Here's what they had to say.
What may a person notice if they suspect Oral cancer?
Lesions that won't go away or that are rapidly growing. In addition, someone with oral cancer may notice a lip or mouth sore that doesn't heal, a white or red patch in the mouth, a growth or lump, loose teeth, or difficult or painful swallowing.
Are their preventive steps one can take to reduce the risk of Oral, head, and neck cancers? Describe.
Patients should avoid tobacco products and drink alcohol in moderation. Sun exposure to the lips and skin should also be avoided. Patients with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) should seek treatment for it. Lastly, schedule regular dental visits for oral cancer screenings.
What roles do the Hygienists and Dentists play in identifying oral, head, and neck cancers?
We are your first line defense in identifying suspicious lesions. At each hygiene exam the hygienist and dentist perform oral cancer screenings and look for any abnormal findings listed above.
Are there self exams that individuals can do on themselves or their loved ones for early cancer detection?
Patients can do self exams to detect cancer. Patients can pull their cheeks out to inspect the insides of the cheeks and gums for red or white sores, pull out their tongue and inspect the sides top and bottom for any red or white lesions as well, feel for lumps in the neck and check for enlarged lymph nodes. Look in the mouth frequently and evaluate yourself for changes in bumps, red spots, white spots and if so then make an appointment!
Where can someone find more information about this?
You can learn more about Oral, Head and Neck Cancer by visiting this site from the American Dental Association or make an appointment with us by calling 410-795-0055 today.