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April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Oral cancer is a very serious and potentially life-threatening disease. In fact, more people die from oral cancer than cervical cancer. Most oral cancer cases are found on the tongue, lips, gums, floor of the mouth and inside lining of the cheeks. If oral cancer is found early, it can be removed surgically.

It is important to know the signs of oral cancer, so you can catch it early. Some of these signs include tongue pain, loose teeth, sore throat, jaw pain, white or red patch in your mouth, difficulty swallowing and thick skin around your mouth.

Certain factors can increase your risk of developing oral cancer including heavy alcohol use, sun exposure to your lips, tobacco use and human papillomavirus. These factors can cause the cells on your mouth or in your lips to change. As a result, cancer cells will grow.

If you notice any signs of oral cancer, you should make an appointment to see your dentist immediately. Before you leave for your appointment, you should make a list of your symptoms, personal information and medications you are taking. Also, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist questions about oral cancer.

After your dentist has gathered your personal information, he will give you a physical exam to see if there are any abnormalities on your mouth or lips. If he finds abnormalities, he will remove some tissue and send it to the laboratory for testing.

If you do have oral cancer, you will have to undergo treatment to get rid of it. Treatments options include surgery, chemotherapy, drug therapy and radiation. The type of treatment you receive will depend on your cancer’s stage and your overall health.

Finding out that you have oral cancer can be very scary. However, you must stay strong to fight your cancer. Be sure to keep your family members and friends around, so you always have someone to talk to.