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Oral Cancer – Do You Know the Risks?

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Fortunately we do not see oral cancer very often, but we do find it.  We don’t hear as much about oral cancer as some other types of cancer, but it’s a serious risk that increases as we get older. I want to make sure my dental patients in Buckhead are aware of this disease, as well as its prevention.

Oral Cancer Risks

If you smoke or use tobacco and/or abuse alcohol, your risk of getting oral cancer can be as much as 300 times higher than non-users. (Source: National Institutes of Health, 2006.) Even the alcohol in mouthwash can add to that risk.

Another risk that most people aren’t aware of is HPV, or the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital cancers. It can also cause oral cancers, and has become as much of a risk as tobacco and alcohol. If you know that you have HPV, or are concerned about it, you may want to have more frequent checkups and cancer screenings. Talk to your doctor and if you’re comfortable doing so, let us know so we can coordinate your care with your doctor.

Oral Cancer Symptoms     

Oral cancer isn’t difficult to diagnose, but the danger is that it’s often caught in late stages when it’s spread to other parts of the body. If you notice any of the following symptoms in between checkups, please call us right away:

  • A sore that doesn’t heal
  • A lump or thickening of the lining of the mouth
  • Difficult or painful chewing or swallowing

If you haven’t had a checkup recently, call our dental office in Buckhead at 404.255.7500 to schedule an appointment today. Information and prevention are both good keywords to keep in mind for life, a long life!

Filed under: General Dentistry

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