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Let's Discuss Mouth Cancer: November Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

November 15, 2023

A man opening his mouth and a graphic of bacteria coming out.

November is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness for this type of cancer that often goes undetected until it reaches more advanced stages. Oral cancer, commonly referred to as β€œmouth cancer,” affects any part of the mouth; the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, and palate can all be affected. We will explore what mouth cancer looks like, its differentiators from other cancers, and why early detection should always be prioritized. In this blog post, we'll also touch upon its prevalence among other forms.

What Does Mouth Cancer Appear Like?

Mouth cancer may present itself in many different ways. Common symptoms could include:

  • Your mouth has developed sores or lumps which do not heal within two weeks, prompting medical intervention.
  • Trouble swallowing or speaking may indicate an underlying medical condition and may contribute to difficulty with eating and speaking.
  • Facial nerve paralysis or numbness and tingling is an increasingly prevalent symptom, so if it appears, take note.
  • White or red patches in the mouth.

Noting the presence of mouth cancer without symptoms is of great significance; therefore, annual dental checkups should be scheduled.

Can Dentists Diagnose Mouth Cancer?

Yes! Dentists play an essential part in diagnosing mouth cancer. At routine dental checkups, dentists will examine all areas of the mouth, including the tongue, gums, lips, and roof of the mouth for any abnormalities or concerns that require further testing by an oral surgeon or specialist.

What Sets Mouth Cancer Apart from Other Cancers?

Mouth cancer stands out among other forms of cancer in several ways. First, its risk factors often include tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, and the human papillomavirus (HPV). Second, early detection is often difficult, and advanced cases often disfigure the face, making this form particularly challenging to live with. Finally, most individuals diagnosed with mouth cancer experience some degree of disfigurement as part of living with this form.

November is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, but everyone should remain mindful of its symptoms and risk factors throughout the year. If any of the symptoms mentioned or any concerns arise, don't delay in scheduling an appointment with your dentist. Early detection and treatment could save your life. If you would like to book an appointment with our experienced dentists, please call us at (905) 677-7133.