April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Apr 09, 2024

April heralds Oral Cancer Awareness Month, an occasion to shed light on a disorder afflicting multitudes of Canadians annually. Unchecked, oral cancer infiltrates the oral cavity, ensnaring the mouth, throat, skull, and cervical regions.

The essence of timely identification in combatting oral cancer cannot be overstated. Quick intervention sees over 50% of patients surviving five years post-diagnosis. Your Langley dentist plays a pivotal role in early detection and prevention.

Adherence to disciplined dental hygiene, punctuated by regular visits to your dentist, safeguards against oral cancer. It is imperative to see your dentist twice a year.

What constitutes oral cancer? It encompasses a spectrum of malignancies affecting the oral cavity, encompassing the lips, tongue, dental apparatus, gingiva, oral mucosa, and buccal surfaces.

An array of lifestyle choices makes one’s susceptibility to oral cancer, like smoking, drinking alcohol, and unsafe sexual practices.

Who bears the brunt of oral cancer’s impact? Predominantly, adults beyond forty-five years bear the burden, with advancing age exponentially amplifying vulnerability. Furthermore, males are disproportionately affected.

Statistics from 2020 underscore the gravity of the issue, with over five thousand Canadians grappling with oral cancer, culminating in an estimated fifteen hundred fatalities. Males accounted for the lion’s share of diagnoses and mortalities.

Beyond age and gender, myriad other predisposing factors exacerbate the risk of succumbing to oral cancer.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer:

  • Tobacco: All iterations of tobacco consumption are inextricably linked to the bulk of oral cancer instances, inclusive of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and e-cigarettes. Concurrent alcohol consumption exacerbates the risk manifold.
  • Alcohol: The quantum of consumption correlates directly with the risk quotient. The nexus between heavy alcohol intake and tobacco use serves as a potent catalyst for oral cancer.
  • HPV: Certain strains of the human papillomavirus, namely HPV-16 and HPV-18, are strongly associated with oral cancer. Prior HPV exposure predisposes one to heightened oral cancer risk.
  • Solar Radiation: Prolonged sun exposure escalates the likelihood of lip cancer, particularly affecting rural demographics and individuals with fair complexions.
  • Dietary Habits: Inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables augments oral cancer susceptibility, given the abundance of anticarcinogenic properties inherent in such produce.
  • Genetic Predisposition: Familial history of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) or inheritance of genetic anomalies such as Fanconi Anemia or Dyskeratosis Congenita elevates oral cancer risk.
  • Immunocompromised State: Individuals grappling with immune debilitation confront an elevated risk, particularly concerning lip malignancies.
  • Periodontal Health: Empirical evidence underscores the correlation between deficient oral hygiene practices and heightened oral cancer susceptibility, necessitating meticulous oral care and periodic dental visits.

What are the signs of oral cancer? An array of indications warrants vigilance:

  • Non-healing lesions or nodules within the oral cavity.
  • Erythematous, leukoplakic, or erythroplakic lesions adorning the mucosal surfaces.
  • Pernicious bleeding, discomfort, or paresthesia.
  • Intractable sore throat.
  • The persisting sensation of foreign body lodging.
  • Dysphagia, dysphonia, or dysarthria.
  • Otalgia or persistent hoarseness.
  • Substantial weight loss.

How can one mitigate the risk of succumbing to oral cancer? Lifestyle modifications constitute the vanguard of prevention:

  • Abstinence from tobacco in all forms is non-negotiable, heralding a concomitant amelioration in overall health and a steep decline in oral cancer risk.
  • Curtailing alcohol consumption, particularly in tandem with tobacco use, is incumbent upon minimizing vulnerability.
  • Embracing photoprotective measures, including lip balm infused with UV protection, attenuates solar-induced oral cancer risk.
  • Immunization against HPV, where feasible, confers a measure of protection.
  • Adherence to a well-balanced diet, replete with fruits and vegetables teeming with phytochemicals, augments the body’s armamentarium against cancer.
  • Rigorous oral hygiene practices, encompassing twice-daily brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, serve as protection against oral cancer.
  • Scheduling bi-annual appointments with your Langley-based dentist at Novacare Dental is imperative, as it allows professional cleaning, examination, and oral cancer screening.

How does one ascertain the presence of oral cancer? Routine dental visits proffer an avenue for early detection, wherein your dentist meticulously inspects the oral cavity for anomalous lesions, palpates for indurations, and conducts ancillary examinations. In instances of suspicious lesions, examination is warranted.

The pivotal role of early detection in the therapeutic trajectory of oral cancer cannot be overstated. Timely identification confers a tangible survival advantage, underscoring the exigency of regular visits to Novacare Dental for comprehensive evaluation.

A mere fraction of time suffices for an oral cancer screening, yet its ramifications are profound. When did you last grace Novacare Dental with your presence? If the interlude spans beyond six months, expediency behooves you. Reach out today to schedule an appointment with our esteemed Langley-based dentists.

Is self-examination for oral cancer feasible? Absolutely! A monthly self-appraisal empowers one to discern aberrations promptly. Any deviations merit expeditious notification to Novacare Dental.

Conducting a self-examination entails palpation of the lips, gingiva, palate, cervical lymph nodes, and mandibular region for nodularity or hypertrophy. Subsequently, employing a well-illuminated mirror facilitates the inspection of the oral mucosa, tongue, and oropharyngeal surfaces. Ocular scrutiny of the buccal mucosa and gingival crevices is indispensable.

Embrace the Imperative of Oral Cancer Screening

Routine oral cancer screenings, both at home and in the clinical setting, epitomize the crux of early detection. Ergo, in consonance with periodic self-evaluation, adherence to bi-annual dental check ups is incumbent upon safeguarding oral health and forestalling insidious maladies.

Featured Image courtesy of the National Cancer Institute from Unsplash.