Did you know the use of tobacco and alcohol increases your risk of developing oral cancer? Oral cancers include cancers of the mouth, tongue, tonsils, throat and exterior lips. Almost 43,000 Americans, including Hendricks County residents, will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014. And oral cancer causes over 8,000 deaths a year – roughly one death every hour.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. At Danville Family Dentistry, we want to reduce the number of oral cancer cases in Hendricks County by making you aware of the importance of screening and early detection.
Not only does regular tobacco and alcohol use increase your risk of developing oral cancer, but other factors, like age, gender and exposure to the human papilloma virus, can raise your risk, too.
Some possible signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • A sore on your lip or in your mouth that doesn’t heal
  • Red or white patches on your gums, tongue, tonsils or lining of your mouth
  • A lump, thickening, or rough or crusty spot in your mouth or on your lips or gums
  • Pain, tenderness, numbness or bleeding on your lips or in your mouth
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
  • Sore throat or the feeling that something is caught in your throat
  • Loose teeth or dentures that no longer fit well

If you experience any of these symptoms and they don’t go away after 2 weeks, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jon Erickson at Danville Family Dentistry in Hendricks County. Early detection and treatment is vital to improving your chance for a full recovery.
Since early symptoms can often go unnoticed by some people, regular dental visits are also important for detecting oral cancer in its early stages. Unfortunately, many people discover they have oral cancer after it has progressed and is harder to treat. So, don’t ignore any suspicious changes in your oral health. And, make sure you see Dr. Erickson every 6 months for a dental checkup and oral cancer screening.