Even though April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, this form of cancer does not receive as much attention as other forms of cancer, such as skin cancer. However, the mortality rate for oral cancer is higher than the other types of cancer people hear about more often. The reason oral cancer has such a higher mortality rate is because it is often diagnosed in the later stages.
That is why it is extremely important to get regular oral cancer screenings from one of the family dentists in Charlotte. Oral cancer screenings can help diagnose the condition while it is in its early stages. Screenings can also help reduce your risk of developing oral cancer.
What Is Cancer?
Oral cancer is a type of cancer that affects areas of the mouth. It often develops on the tongue or lips, but it can also develop on the floor or roof of the mouth and the lining of the gums or cheeks. Many people are diagnosed when the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. Once the cancer has spread, a patient’s prognosis is worse.
The early stages of this condition are often missed unless people are screened regularly by general dentists. Oral cancer may not cause discomfort or pain.
Men are twice as likely to get oral cancer as women. A person’s risk of oral cancer also increases after the age of 50. Below is a list of some of the additional risk factors that increase the risk of oral cancer:
- Smoking – People who smoke are six times more likely to develop oral cancer. It is important to note that smokeless tobacco is not any safer to use. Smokeless tobacco also increases the risk of oral cancer.
- Alcohol – Alcohol also greatly increases a person’s risk of developing oral cancer. This is why it is important to limit your alcohol consumption.
- Family History – Oral cancer has a tendency to run in families. People who have a family history of oral cancer are at a greater risk for developing it.
General dentists play an important role in the prevention and detection of oral cancer. They cannot only perform oral cancer screenings, but they can also give people tips on things that they can do to reduce their risk of developing oral cancer. Family dentists in Charlotte not only keep your smile looking great, but they can also help protect your health.