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April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation the majority of oral cancer develops from two primary causes.  One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol and the other is through exposure to HPV (human papilloma virus, specifically version 16), the same virus which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women.  A small percentage of people (under 7 %) do get oral cancers from no identified cause. It is currently believed that these are likely related to some genetic predisposition.

As you are well aware, dentists are often the first line of defense against oral cancer, through the process of early discovery.  When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 % survival rate.  Unfortunately, the majority of cases are not diagnosed until the later stages accounting for the high fatality rate; nearly one person dies every hour of every day. 

 

The American Dental Association recommends continued awareness of the early indications of oral cancer especially between your routine dental visits.  If any of the following symptoms persist longer than two weeks, please contact us to get evaluated: 

     • a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
     • red or white patches
     • pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
     • a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
     • difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
     • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

Over 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer this year. When it is detected and treated early, overall health problems are reduced.  The UW Carbone Cancer Center is offering a FREE ORAL CANCER SCREENING on Friday, April 25th from 10:00AM - 1:00PM at the Otolaryngology/ENT Clinic (Atrium, 2nd Floor) at UW Hospital and Clinics located at 600 Highland Avenue.  No appointment necessary and free parking available.  For more information or questions about the screening, contact Heather Geye at 608-265-6260.    


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