April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month: GET SCREENED!!! People are dying of oral cancer everyday! Early discovery has many positive impacts, potentially longer life spans, easier treatment and greater chances of a cure.
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April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month: GET SCREENED!!! People are dying of oral cancer everyday! Early discovery has many positive impacts, potentially longer life spans, easier treatment and greater chances of a cure.

Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers which fall into the head and neck cancer categoryOral cancer begins in the mouth, also called the oral cavity. Common names for oral cancers include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer

The death rate associated with oral and pharyngeal cancers remains particularly high due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development and many who do survive suffer long-term problems such as severe facial disfigurement or difficulties eating and speaking. The earlier the cancer is detected, the easier the treatment and the greater the chance of a cure.

Primary risk factors for developing an oral or oropharyngeal cancer include:
  • Tobacco use in all its forms
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • A persistent HPV16 (human papilloma virus #16) oral infection

While smoking and tobacco use are still major risk factors, the  highest increasing number of oral cancer patients is young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to a HPV16 virus. Fortunately their is a readily available  HPV16 vaccine which can be used to to protect our next generation. However, there is no vaccine for adults already exposed.

HPV16 Vaccine -This vaccine, given to young men and women ages 9 through 26, prevents pre-cancerous changes that may become cancer. HPV vaccination is currently recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all boys and girls ages 11 or 12, and for men and women ages 13 through 26 who have not already received the vaccine or have not completed booster shots.

Possible Oral cancer signs and symptoms  includes:
  • An ulcer or sore that does not heal within 2-3 weeks
  • A discoloration on the soft tissues of the mouth that persists. It may be white, red, or even blackish in color
  • A swelling or lump in the mouth that persists. This also applies to a tonsil that is swollen but painless
  • Any abnormality that bleeds easily when touched. (friable)
  • A lump, or hard spot in the tissue. (induration)
  • Tissue raised above that surrounding it, a growth. (exophytic)
  • A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal.
  • A numb feeling in the mouth or lips
  • Persistent sore throat, hoarse voice, or cough
  • A painless fixated lump felt on the outside of the neck, which has been there for at least two weeks
  • Difficult or painful swallowing, or a painless sensation that when swallowing things are becoming stuck in your throat
  • An ear ache on one side (unilateral) which persists for a protracted period of time

Not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. If you think you may be at risk, you should discuss it with your doctor.

2 Comments to April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month: GET SCREENED!!! People are dying of oral cancer everyday! Early discovery has many positive impacts, potentially longer life spans, easier treatment and greater chances of a cure.:

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