oral cancer awareness

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Dr Devine Oral Care

oral cancer awarenessServing Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN

It’s estimated that 750,000 cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2020. Receiving regular medical screenings is the best way to stay ahead of cancer. At Devine Dentistry, we want to help protect you against the possible deadly threat of this disease. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, so let’s explore oral cancer, the risks, and how an oral cancer screening could save your life.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer might be lesser known than others, but 145 new people are diagnosed with it every day in the United States, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. One person dies from oral cancer each hour of every day. Deaths from oral cancer each year outnumber those from brain cancer, cervical cancer, and testicular cancer combined.

That doesn’t mean oral cancer isn’t treatable. Oral cancer has an 80 to 90 percent survival rate if detected early. Unfortunately, the majority of people who develop oral cancer find out too late. That’s why Devine Dentistry wants you to learn more about oral cancer screenings in Nashville before it is too late.

Who gets oral cancer?

Anyone could get oral cancer. Statistically speaking, though, some people are more at risk than others. Men suffer from oral cancer at twice the rates women do. Adults age 40-75 are most likely to be diagnosed with oral cancer. Other risk factors include tobacco use (with smokeless tobacco users at the greatest risk) and alcohol consumption, which makes you six times more likely to develop oral cancer if more than two drinks a day are consumed.

People who have a family history of cancer are more likely to get oral cancer. Excessive sun exposure, especially when younger, also increases oral cancer risks. Meanwhile, HPV is an etiologic risk factor for Oral and Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

When should I be screened for oral cancer?

The inside of your mouth can be hard to inspect on your own. Only trained professionals, like our Nashville general dentists at Devine Dentistry, know what to expect and look for when examining a patient for signs of oral cancer. We recommend a cancer screening as part of each regular dental checkup—especially if you are at a higher risk of getting oral cancer.

There are some signs and symptoms to look out for as well.

Warning signs that you may have oral cancer include:

  • Painless flat sores or spots (red or white)
  • Sores that bleed easily or never heal
  • Oral tissue discoloration
  • Pain, numbness, or tenderness in the mouth or lips
  • Noticing a lump, or areas that feel thickened, rough, crusted
  • Small, eroded areas of soft tissue

How does an oral cancer screening work?

At Devine Dentistry, we perform gentle palpations of the soft tissue inside your mouth. It may be necessary to use a small instrument, which can be used to probe a suspicious-looking area. If we identify any abnormal cells, we will ask you to return for additional diagnostics or imaging.

Oral Cancer Screenings in Nashville

Oral cancer is deadly and happens to be on the rise in the United States. That’s why you shouldn’t risk not knowing if you have it. This April, please contact our office for your oral cancer screening if you live in the areas of Belle Meade, Green Hills, or Nashville, TN. You can reach Devine Dentistry by phone at (615) 269-4209 or contact us today.