October is breast cancer awareness month. September, prostate cancer awareness month.
April? April is designated as Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
As your dentist, we’re your first–maybe second, after you–line of defense when it comes to early detection of oral cancer.
Here’s what you need to know about oral cancer and the screening process.
Risk factors for oral cancer
Oral cancer has about an 80 percent survival rate if it is detected early.
The main risk factors that increase your chances of getting oral cancer are alcohol use, tobacco use (including smokeless tobacco), and the sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). However, about one-quarter of all people with oral cancer have no risk factors.
Oral cancer screening
When you go for your six-month dental exam, your dentist will usually perform two different checks for oral cancer.
The first will be a standard look in the mouth for red or white patches. Visible mouth sores will also be noted as a potential sign of cancer.
Second, we feel around inside of your mouth with a finger to find lumps or other knots in the tissues that may be a signal of oral cancer. There are other types of tests available, but these tend to be the most common, unless you have specific risk factors or unless something is revealed by these initial tests.
Be an oral cancer know-it-all with this Infographic.
Dr. Mike Mavrostomos is a passionate and top-quality comprehensive care dentist located in Bedminster, New Jersey. His continual pursuit of education and state-of-the-art dentistry has led to his being recognized as one of New Jersey’s Top Dentists by the New Jersey Top-Docs committee.