As a dentist in Chicago, the staff at Chicago Dental Arts is pleased to be a part of the effort to drive awareness about oral cancer this April. If you didn’t know already, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month which makes it a great time to get screened for oral cancer and/or do self-exams.
Considering this: According to Thomas Indresano, President of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), the “survival rate [for oral cancer] is between 80 and 90 percent when it’s found at early stages of development.”
This fact alone should be enough for the patients of any dentist in Chicago to get screened and check themselves regularly.
How to Conduct a Self-Exam
This simple, easy-to-follow infographic from AAOMS details what you need to know about conducting an Oral Cancer Self-Exam. Just by taking the six steps to exam yourself each month, you can increase the chances that you’ll identify oral cancer in its early stages when it’s most treatable.
The Reality of Oral Cancer
One of the biggest problems with oral cancer, in addition to the disease itself, is that people aren’t aware of what a significant issue it is. Yet, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 50,000 people are predicted to be diagnosed with oral cancer in the next year.
Indresano, mentioned earlier, notes that “25 percent of oral cancer patients have no known risk factors,” which means that no one should take the risk of oral cancer lightly.
What to Look For
While it’s best to go to your dentist in Chicago for a screening, you can be aware of a few things to look out for. That way, you can spot things quickly and get to a dentist as soon as possible. When you do your exams, you’ll want to look out for patches throughout your mouth that are red, white, or both. These could be on the roof of your mouth or elsewhere, like under or on your tongue. Also look out for any abnormal lumps in your mouth, jaw, or neck. Finally, difficulty chewing or chronic sore throats that don’t heal or bleed easily are also warning signs of oral cancer.
If you notice any of these signs, go see a dentist immediately. Only a professional should be relied upon to give an accurate diagnosis of oral cancer.