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Norge Dental Center Blog

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, roughly 53,000 Americans and over 450,000 people worldwide will be diagnosed with Oropharyngeal or Oral Cancer this year. Early detection with treatment increases the survival rate; however, awareness and prevention are our greatest weapons in fighting this disease on the rise. Despite the fact that men are twice as likely to have Oral Cancer than women, other contributing factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet deficiency, and viruses are possible risk factors we all may be exposed to. It is important to maintain routine dental examinations as a screening opportunity.
During a routine dental examination, your Doctor or Dental Hygienist will perform a complete Oral Cancer Screening. Risk factors are discussed in conjunction with any relevant history that may contribute to pre-cancerous or cancerous oral conditions. All soft tissues of the mouth, including tongue and external lymph nodes around the oral cavity and neck are examined. A Velscope may be used as an advanced visualization tool that uses natural tissue fluorescence to identify oral abnormalities. Brush Cytology and Oral Brush Biopsy may be necessary in advanced diagnoses of Oral cancers. We encourage our patients to do self-screenings at home as well. It is important to recognize healthy tissues while also being aware of any changes in appearance. Checkyourmouth.org is a great site dedicated to helping with oral self-examinations. Symptoms of Oral cancer may include red or white patches, pain, lumps, numbness in or around the mouth, difficulty swallowing, speaking or moving the tongue. It is important to discuss any of these symptoms regardless of any accompanied visual changes.
Here at Norge Dental Center we strive to educate and help prevent diseases of the oral cavity, but are prepared after diagnosis to strategize the best treatment options. We encourage our patients to schedule an Oral Cancer screening in recognition of Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
written by Christina Thomas, RDH
 
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