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April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

An oral cancer screening is the most efficient way to spot oral cancer in its early stages. Early detection of this disease is key to early treatment, and in turn, a higher survival rate. According to the American Cancer Society, in the U.S. thousands of new oral cancer cases are diagnosed every single year and screening could spot up to 80% of these new cases.

Dr. Mark Richardson, your dentist here in our Kalamazoo, MI, practice, can play a vital role in the early detection of oral cancer. At Mark Richardson, DDS, he provides oral cancer screenings and educates our patients about potential issues and risk factors for oral cancer.

Common Areas of Oral Cancer

In most cases, oral cancer develops in the mouth’s surface tissue cells where they start shallow and then gradually penetrate the bone. It could likewise develop on the lips, tongue, the roof of the mouth, under the tongue, inside the cheeks, back of the mouth, tonsils, and throat. If spotted early on, oral cancer treatment is straightforward and easy. But left undetected and untreated, more invasive treatment is required.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

  • Mouth sores that don’t heal or bleed easily
  • Reddish or whitish patches in your mouth
  • Sudden loosening of the teeth or dentures
  • Changes in the color of the oral tissues
  • Difficulty or pain when talking and/or swallowing
  • Indented areas or indurations
  • Lumps or swellings
  • Persistent ear pain
  • Hardened and/or enlarged glands or lymph nodes

Risk Factors and Causes of Oral Cancer

While oral cancer isn’t caused by just one single thing, certain risk factors increase its development. These include:

  • Excessive and regular consumption of alcohol
  • Tobacco use, including smoking and chewing
  • Age, with patients over the age of 45 the most common age group.
  • A diet lacking vegetables and fruits
  • Infection from specific kinds of HPV or human papillomavirus
  • Overexposure to UV rays, which include those from tanning beds

Prevention and Detection of Oral Cancer

  • Limit your alcohol consumption and quit smoking.
  • Eat a healthy diet packed with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.
  • Always wear sunscreen on body areas, including the lips and ears, that will be exposed to the sun.
  • See your dentist in Kalamazoo, MI, for routine exams.
  • Know your risk factors. Conduct daily self-exams for oral cancer. If you experience the symptoms mentioned above, consult your Kalamazoo, MI, dentist as soon as possible.

For More Information on Oral Cancer, Call Us

Dial (269) 343-6907 to get in touch with Dr. Mark Richardson here at Kalamazoo, MI.

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