It’s scary when anyone mentions the word cancer, and oral cancer is no different. A serious and sometimes life threatening disease, oral cancer affects thousands of Americans each year – yet awareness and education regarding its seriousness isn’t often talked about. This Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the team at our dental office in Austin wants to help change that by providing you with some startling statistics about the disease, as well as key signs to look out for and ways you can protect yourself.
Oral Cancer Statistics
The number of oral cancer patients is expected to rise in 2018. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that over 51,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed this year alone. Additionally, out of all the known people with the disease, over 10,000 will die by the end of the year. Even though mortality rates were declining in the past, throughout the past 10 years they’ve stayed relatively the same. While these statistics are absolutely scary, oral cancer can be treated successfully. Currently, the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer is 65%
What Are The Signs of Oral Cancer?
One of the key points to surviving oral cancer is detecting and treating it early. This makes being able to recognize the common signs incredibly important. Signs of oral cancer can include:
- A sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away and bleeds easily
- A chronic white or red area
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue
- A lump on the cheek, tongue, or throat
- Coughing up blood
- Ear pain
If you suspect any problem at all, get help from your dentist in Austin as soon as possible.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
While oral cancer can affect anyone thanks to genetics or even gender and age, there are a lot of lifestyle factors that can greatly increase your risk including:
- Using Tobacco: Whether you smoke cigarettes or cigars, or use smokeless tobacco, it can put you at risk for oral cancer. Around 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are tobacco users.
- Drinking Alcohol: Drinking alcohol excessively also increases the likelihood of oral cancer. Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer drink alcohol often.
- HPV: The sexually transmitted disease of the human papillomavirus (HPV) can also increase someone’s risk of oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Prevention
Changing a few lifestyle factors can help prevent the development of oral cancer. Quitting smoking, along with reducing your alcohol intake, are a few great places to start. However, it’s also crucial to maintain good oral health and get dental checkups every six months. These exams and cleanings can help spot any potential problems early, when treatment is most successful.
Don’t have a dentist you trust? We welcome you to call our Austin dental office to schedule an appointment today. It could save your life.