Early Detection Saves Lives
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and the Collegeville Gentle Dentist is focused on sharing valuable information about oral cancer symptoms and screening. Like many cancers, early oral cancer detection can make a big difference in survival rate. In fact, when diagnosed at early stages, oral cancer has a survival rate of 80-90%.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
Oral cancer symptoms can often be mistaken for less innocuous conditions, so it’s important to tell your dentist about any changes around or inside your mouth. Oral cancer symptoms include:
- A sore on the lip or in the mouth that does not heal.
- A lump or thickening on the lips or gums or in the mouth.
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsils or lining of the mouth.
- Bleeding, pain or numbness in the lip or mouth.
- Change in voice.
- Loose teeth or dentures that no longer fit well.
- Trouble chewing or swallowing or moving the tongue or jaw.
- Swelling of the jaw.
- Sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat.
Don’t Skip Routine Dental Checkups
The Gentle Dentist of the Trappe and Collegeville PA area performs oral cancer screenings as part of routine oral maintenance exams. For most patients, we recommend dental checkups every six months for professional cleaning, periodontal health and oral cancer screening.
How to Perform an Oral Cancer Self-Exam
In between appointments, pay attention to any changes in or around your mouth, and give yourself a monthly oral cancer self-exam. All you need is a flashlight and a mirror. Look and feel inside your mouth, lips, gums, roof of the mouth and tongue. View/download an easy guide to 6 easy steps to check your own mouth for oral cancer, courtesy of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
If you have any questions about oral cancer or are experiencing any oral cancer symptoms, please contact our office.