This wasn’t exactly how we imagined we would be spending the month of April. With our doors closed to our patients per the recommendation of the Utah Department of Health. We miss you and we miss serving you, but we know this is the best way we can do that right now.
April is an important month for us in the world of oral health as it is Oral Cancer Awareness month. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancer awareness in the American public is low. Around 53,000 people in the United States will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year. 132 new people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with an oral cancer every day, and one person every hour will die from it.
Smoking and tobacco use are major risk factors, but the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says more than 80% of Americans will at some point in their lifetime have an HPV infection of some time. Most won’t know they have an HPV infection, which typically doesn’t show signs or symptoms.
Right now, ways we can increase early detection of oral cancer is to first, educate ourselves on the signs and symptoms. Second, continue screening for the disease and keeping an eye out for risk factors. And finally, continue to stay up to date on current best practices in screening and assessing risk when it comes to this cancer. As a patient, the best thing you can do is to perform the oral cancer self-exam monthly. To do so, take a bright light and a mirror, look and feel your lips and the front of your gums. Look inside and around the roof of your mouth, your cheeks and gums. Pull out your tongue and look at the surfaces, look at the floor of your mouth and the back of your throat. It’s also important to feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes in your neck and under your lower jaw. Of course, give us a call or come in if you notice any changes or symptoms of oral cancer.
We look forward to the day where we can see you all again. Until then, stay healthy and safe.
Roger’s Center for Dentistry, your favorite Spanish Fork dental practice