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3150 North Elm Street, Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408
336-286-9897

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April 11, 2019

April Brings Awareness to Oral Cancer

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Oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the mouth and upper throat) collectively kill nearly one person, every hour of every day of the year. Unfortunately, oral cancer awareness within the United States is relatively low. Approximately 53,000 people in the country will be newly diagnosed this year, 40 percent of whom will not survive longer than five years. Moreover, many who do survive will suffer long-term problems, such difficulties with eating or speaking and some with severe facial disfigurement.

Researchers identified several factors that may contribute to the development of oral cancer. Traditionally, those at higher risk have been heavy drinkers and smokers older than age 50, but today the disease is occurring more frequently in a younger, nonsmoking population due to the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer caused by tobacco usage and excessive alcohol usage may include one or more of the following:

Any sore or ulceration that does not heal within 14 days.

A red, white, or black discoloration of the soft tissues of the mouth.

Any abnormality that bleeds easily when touched. .

A lump or hard spot in the tissue, usually on the sides of the tongue or underneath it.

A sore under a denture, which even after a denture adjustment does not heal.

A lump or thickening that develops in the mouth.

A painless, firm mass felt on the outside of the neck, that has been there for at least two weeks.

All these symptoms have the commonality of being persistent and not resolving.

Signs and symptoms of HPV based oropharyngeal cancer persist longer than two-three weeks and may include one or more of the following:

Hoarseness or sore throat that does not resolve.

A painless, firm, fixated lump felt on the outside of the neck, which has been there for at least two weeks.

Constant coughing that does not resolve.

Difficulty swallowing; a sensation that food is getting caught in your throat.

An earache on one side that persists for more than a few days.

Similarly to signs for tobacco or excessive alcohol usage, these symptoms have the commonality of being persistent and not resolving.

The death rate associated with oral and oropharyngeal cancers remains unusually high because the tumors are generally discovered late in their development. However, when detected and treated early, mortality and treatment-related health problems are drastically reduced. Oral Cancer Awareness Month this April is a gentle reminder that regular oral cancer examinations by your oral health professional remain the best method to detect oral cancer in its early stages, so make your appointment today. Dr. Szott checks for oral cancer at EVERY exam because she understands that early detection of the disease is the key to a complete recovery.

Where We Are Located

3150 North Elm Street
Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408
Call us today to Schedule an Appointment:
336-286-9897