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Oral Cancer - What to Watch For

April is Cancer Awareness Month and we are focusing on Oral Cancer.

When detected early, oral cancer is usually curable. Due to lack of regular and opportunistic screening, it often will go undetected until the later stages.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

  1. A mouth sore that does not heal.

  2. A mouth sore that bleeds spontaneously.

  3. A velvety white, red or speckled (red & white) patch in the mouth that is persistent.

  4. A hard, raised lesion (lump), crusts and/or eroded areas on the lips, gums or other areas in the mouth.

  5. An unexplained bleeding in the mouth.

  6. A persistent pain in the mouth.

  7. Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the tongue.

Note that about 20% of the time, white patches called leukoplakia, are precancerous and should be evaluated by your dentist.

Just a few ways that you can reduce your risk of oral cancer are ...

  • Visit your dental provider regularly for a thorough oral exam.

  • Limit your alcohol consumption.

  • Avoid tobacco products and smoking.

  • Enjoy a healthy, balanced diet.

  • Exercise regularly.

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