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April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month: Here’s What You Need to Know

When it comes to oral cancer, the biggest danger lies in not knowing. Not knowing what to look for or when to speak to a doctor leads to thousands of new cases being diagnosed too late. With the mortality rate for this disease being as high as it is, raising awareness is one of the quickest ways to educate people about the dangers of oral cancer. That is why April has been declared Oral Cancer Awareness Month and focuses on education and treatment of this disease. 

Why Oral Cancer Remains Dangerous

On average, someone dies from oral and pharyngeal cancer every hour of every day of the year, one of the highest mortality rates among the different types of cancers. The life expectancy for 60% of the people newly diagnosed with these diseases is only about five years, and the potential for mouth and throat complications remains high. Typically, the reasons for these higher rates relate to how long it takes for an official diagnosis. Oral cancers tend to be found later in their development where the treatment options aren’t as effective. 

Why Early Detection Matters

With any type of cancer, the earlier your diagnosis, the better your chances of beating it. By catching oral cancer early, not only do you significantly increase your survival odds, but you also reduce the chances of developing severe side effects from the treatment. With such complications as facial disfigurement or troubles eating and speaking being common, finding different ways to increase your chances of survival is critical. 

When to Get a Screening

Knowing when to get a screening for oral cancer is half the battle. Many people mistake the signs of the disease as some other oral ailment, causing them to put off screenings until it’s too late. In conjunction with Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the Oral Cancer Foundation runs its Check Your Mouth™ initiative to help people check for signs of oral cancer in between visits and encourages them to reach out if they believe they have active symptoms. 

Oral cancer affects tens of thousands of lives every year, but you can take steps to help give yourself a better chance if you are diagnosed. Whether you take your concerns to an urgent dental care facility or you think of it while visiting your children’s orthodontist in Mercer County, NJ, you can take matters into your hands and speak up if you feel you have symptoms. Learn more about Oral Cancer Awareness Week and schedule your next visit to Hamilton Dental today!