April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

What is oral cancer?

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. If you have been putting off a visit to our New York, NY office, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits to OK Tooth can be the first line of defense against oral cancer, by identifying early warning signs of the disease, or helping you with preventive care tips to lower your chances of developing it.

Oral Cancer Rates in America

Nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and more than 8,000 die every year from this disease. It is a devastating illness: most people who are diagnosed with it do not live more than five years beyond their diagnosis. Oral cancer has a higher death rate than many other common cancers, including cervical cancer, testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and thyroid or skin cancers. The high death rate results from the fact that most oral cancers go undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced and has spread to another part of the body—most often, the lymph nodes in the neck.

What causes oral cancer?

While there is no way to predict exactly which individuals will get oral cancer, there are some potential causes you should know about—because in some cases, you can minimize these risk factors.

In addition, oral cancer tends to occur at a rate six times greater in men than in women, and more often for African Americans than other ethnic groups. No genetic links have been identified to explain the higher incidence in these populations, so lifestyle choices remain the likeliest cause.

Oral Cancer Treatments

Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment of oral cancer usually involves a multi-disciplinary team that includes surgeons, oncologists, dentists, nutritionists, and rehabilitation and restorative specialists. Our team will decide on the best approach for each patient, depending on the risk factors and how far the cancer has progressed. The strategy will be different in every case. Some of the most common methods include chemotherapy, radiation, and potential surgery.

Finding out you have cancer can be devastating news. If you are concerned that you might be at risk for developing oral cancer, talk to us about screenings and other things you can do to reduce your risk.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Pros and Cons of Dentures

Everyone can feel confident about their smile, but some folks may need a little help to get there. If missing teeth make you smile less, dentures may be the ideal solution. Here are the facts to help you decide if dentures are right for you.

The Link Between Your Weight and Sleep Apnea

If you’re a snorer, you may have tried all sorts of tricks like propping up your pillows, sleeping on your side, and using nasal strips. But have you tried losing weight? Find out how carrying even a few extra pounds can make for a loud night.

Does Your Young Athlete Really Need a Mouthguard?

Shin guards, helmets, and pads protect athletes from bumps and bruises, but if your child’s not wearing a mouthguard, too, their teeth are just a line drive away from severe damage. Find out more about protecting your kid’s teeth from risk.

5 Tips for Avoiding Dry Sockets

You may not relish the idea of a tooth extraction, but today’s procedures are fairly simple and not too painful — unless you get dry socket. Find out what causes this condition and how you can avoid it.

How Do You Know if You Need a Root Canal?

The very term “root canal” conjures scary images and the anticipation of pain. But modern root canal procedures aren’t much different from getting a deep filling. Learn how to spot the signs that your tooth might need this tooth-saving procedure.

Adjusting to Life With Dentures

Finding out you need dentures may trigger memories of your grandparents’ “fake teeth” and how they used to pop out unexpectedly. Today’s dentures are a far cry from what you remember. Check out our tips for living with your new and improved dentures.