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FYI - Partnering with you to create healthy smiles


Partnering with you to help create healthy smiles

Screen your patients for their health this Oral Cancer Awareness Month

The tobacco and alcohol usage that rose during the pandemic, along with weight gain, poor diet and oral hygiene and the aging population has seen oral cancer diagnoses rise for each of the past few years. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 58,450 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer this year.

Screening your patients for oral cancer can help save lives. When oral cancer is detected at an early stage, the five-year survival rate is as high as 85%.

What to look for in your diagnoses
Oral cancer can be detected with a quick but thorough screening during a patient’s regular exam. Just look for these symptoms:

  • A sore in the mouth that doesn’t heal
  • A red or white patch in the mouth, on the lip or on the tongue
  • A sore throat or a feeling that something is stuck in patient’s throat
  • A lump or mass in the neck
  • A numbness in the tongue or other areas of the mouth
  • A swelling in the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable

Additionally, conduct an oral cancer screening when patients report difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking, difficulty moving their jaws or tongues, ear pain or changes in their voice.

Where to check for oral cancer
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should check the following areas for signs of oral cancer:

  1. Lymph nodes. Check the neck and under the lower jaw.
  2. Cheeks and lips. Look for red or white patches.
  3. Gums. Be aware of lumps or spots on the gums may be a sign of cancer.
  4. Tongue. Pull the tongue forward and check the base and underside for any swelling or abnormal colors or textures.
  5. Palate and back of throat. Examine these areas closely for any abnormalities.
  6. Floor of the mouth. Check for lumps or sensitivity.

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