Just because you can’t feel it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Just ask the more than 100,000 Americans who were diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck (including thyroid) last year. Unfortunately, many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these life-threatening diseases, which include cancers of the oral cavity, thyroid, larynx and pharynx, and by the time they are diagnosed, for some, it’s too late.
Oral, head and neck cancers claim approximately 14,000 lives per year. However, there is hope; if diagnosed early, these cancers can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival greatly increase.
Who should get tested?
Every adult. Tobacco and alcohol users traditionally have been considered the populations at greatest risk for these cancers. However, oral cancer cases are on the rise in younger adults who do not smoke, and recent research indicates this development is due partly to the increase of the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus, a cancer-causing infection that can be transmitted by oral sex. HPV-related oral cancers are more difficult to detect because these cancers usually occur on the back of the tongue or on the tonsils, providing even more reason to get screened regularly.
•Smoking. Cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers are 6 times more likely than nonsmokers
•Smokeless tobacco users. Users of snuff or chewing tobacco increase
their risk of cancer to the oral cavity.
•Excessive consumption of alcohol. Oral cancers are about six times
more common in drinkers than in nondrinkers. Although alcohol is less
potent than tobacco in causing oral cancers, the combination of alcohol
with tobacco results in a much higher risk of developing oral cancers,
compared to either agent alone.
•Family history of cancer.
•Excessive sun exposure for lip cancer.
What are the potential warning signs of oral cancers?
The signs and symptoms of oral cancer often go unnoticed. However, there are a few visible signs associated with these cancers that require immediate attention, including:
•A sore in your mouth that doesn't heal or that increases in size
•Persistent pain in your mouth
•Lumps or white or red patches inside your mouth
•Difficulty chewing or swallowing or moving your tongue
•Soreness in your throat or feeling that something is caught in your throat
•Changes in your voice
•A lump in your neck
If you have any of the above warning signs, do not wait for the free screenings. Seek medical attention immediately.
How can I get screened locally?
By simply calling Dunes Dental Services at 843-215-2140 or stopping by the office. The screening is painless and only takes about 10 minutes.
Why should I get screened?
If the above stats weren’t reason enough, know that the screening is quick, painless and free, and it’s right around the corner. Given the current state of the economy and rising health care costs, take advantage of the opportunity to benefit from this preventive health measure at no charge by taking 10 minutes to do something that could save your life. Early diagnosis and treatment improves outcomes and chances of survival, particularly for individuals with HPV-related oral cancers. Please contact us at 843-215-2140 to sign up for your free oral cancer screening today.
Remember TEN MINUTES could save your LIFE!