Oral Cancer Month

April is oral cancer awareness month. Although oral cancer is not one of the most common forms of cancer, it is very deadly. Every year 10,030 people die from oral cancer, after diagnoses the 5 year survival rate is 60%. Oral cancer appears in multiple places in the mouth such as, the tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth, throat, and the floor of the mouth.  At your routine dental visit those areas are checked to ensure there is nothing abnormal.

There are eight different steps to an oral cancer exam typically completed at your preventive dental visit by the dentist or hygienist. The lymph nodes in your neck, mouth, tongue, and throat are all a part of an oral cancer exam. This is something done at each exam as a precautionary measure to ensure total health of the mouth. Most people are only seen by a dentist twice per year, so it is important to check these areas yourself.


Although oral cancer can occur in anyone, there are multiple things that can increase your odds of getting oral cancer. Smoking and excessive drinking are the main risk factors that may lead to oral cancer, and men are twice as likely to get oral cancer. However, 25% of those diagnosed with oral cancer have no risk factors. Being on the lookout for symptoms of oral cancer can help catch it sooner rather than later. The following is a list of things to be on the lookout for.

1.      A sore or irritation that does go away

2.      Red or White patches

3.      Pain, tenderness, numbness in the mouth or on the lips

4.      A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust, or small eroded area

5.      Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your tongue or jaw

6.      A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

7.      A sore throat, feeling like something is caught in your throat, or a change in voice

If any of these symptoms last two weeks or more be sure to call and schedule an appointment with your dentist.


(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ada.org/en/press-room/news-releases/2013-archive/april/april-is-oral-cancer-awareness-month

Oral Cancer. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-cancer

Dental. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://oralcancerfoundation.org/dental/

Jade Miller