It’s always scary whenever we hear the word ‘cancer.’ Despite advancements in cancer treatment, it continues to affect millions of people every year. Oral cancer, while not as widely talked about as other cancers, is still very serious and can be deadly. During this Oral Cancer Awareness Month, our dental office in Lakeland wants to share some important information about this serious disease.
Oral Cancer Facts
- More than 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year
- Oral cancer kills one person every hour, every day
- Nearly 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in tobacco users
- About 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers
- Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women
- The majority of oral cancer patients are over the age of 55
Early Detection is Key
Even though oral cancer takes the lives of so many people every year, it is a very treatable cancer when caught early. This is one more reason it’s so important to see your dentist in Lakeland every six months. During your checkups, your dental team is looking for any potential signs of oral cancer so that you can get treatment right away. When caught and treated promptly, the survival rate greatly improves.
Recognize the Signs of Oral Cancer
You may only see your dentist twice a year, so knowing what to keep an eye on between those visits is crucial. Some common signs of oral cancer include:
- Chronic bad breath
- A sore or several sores that don’t go away
- A lump on the cheek
- Difficulty swallowing
- Changes in your voice
Keep in mind that a lot of oral cancer symptoms can easily be mistaken for other problems. If you recognize any of these signs, call your dentist in Lakeland immediately.
This Oral Cancer Awareness Month, make a commitment to decrease your risk of oral cancer by quitting smoking/using chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol excessively. Also, make sure to visit us regularly. A dental visit may just save your life.