April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a crucial time for spreading knowledge about this often overlooked but potentially deadly disease. At Finney Family Dentistry, serving Marion, Ohio, and its surrounding areas, we are committed to providing top-notch dental care and educating our community about the importance of oral health and early detection of oral cancer. Join us in raising awareness and taking steps toward prevention and early intervention.

Understanding Oral Cancer

Oral cancer refers to any cancerous tissue growth located in the oral cavity, including the lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, roof, and floor of the mouth. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 54,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer each year, and the numbers continue to rise. Alarmingly, the five-year survival rate for oral cancer is only around 60%, mainly due to late-stage diagnosis.

Risk Factors

While anyone can develop oral cancer, certain factors increase the risk:

  1. Tobacco Use: Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or using smokeless tobacco significantly raises the risk of developing oral cancer.
  2. Heavy Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption, especially when combined with tobacco use, further increases the risk.
  3. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection: Certain strains of HPV, particularly HPV16, have been linked to oral cancer.
  4. Sun Exposure: Prolonged exposure to the sun increases the risk of lip cancer.
  5. Poor Oral Hygiene: Neglecting oral hygiene can lead to chronic irritation and inflammation, potentially increasing the risk of oral cancer.

Early Detection Saves Lives

Regular dental check-ups are crucial for early detection of oral cancer. During your dental visits, our team at Finney Family Dentistry performs thorough oral cancer screenings, examining the mouth for any abnormalities or signs of cancerous growths. Early detection significantly improves treatment outcomes and increases the chances of survival.

Prevention Tips

Prevention is critical in reducing the risk of oral cancer. Here are some simple steps you can take:

  1. Avoid Tobacco Products: If you smoke or use tobacco, quitting is the single most crucial step you can take to reduce your risk of oral cancer.
  2. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
  3. Practice Sun Safety: Use lip balms with SPF and wear hats to protect your lips from sun exposure.
  4. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Brush and floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
  5. Get Vaccinated: The HPV vaccine can help prevent certain strains of HPV that are linked to oral cancer.

Join Us in Spreading Awareness

This Oral Cancer Awareness Month, let’s work together to spread knowledge about the prevention and early detection of oral cancer. At Finney Family Dentistry, we provide comprehensive dental care to our community in Marion, Ohio, and its surrounding areas. If you or a loved one are due for a dental check-up or have concerns about oral health, we welcome you to schedule an appointment. Together, we can make a difference in the fight against oral cancer.