Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 3, 2018
Oral Cancer Awareness Month - Soma Technology, Inc.

Oral Cancer Awareness Month - Soma Technology, Inc.

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Oral and pharyngeal cancer (cancer of the mouth and upper throat) collectively kill nearly one person every hour. After an individual is diagnosed with these cancers, only about 60% will live longer than the five-year survival rate. One of the main reasons why the mortality rate is so high is because of late detection, which is why early detection is important.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

Dentists recommend individuals to schedule regular visits every 6 months, or sooner if symptoms arise. Your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. If the following symptoms arise and don’t disappear after two to three weeks, call a dental professional immediately. If you have any immediate concerns you should also call a dental professional.

  • A sore, or soreness or irritation that doesn’t disappear
  • White or red patches, pain, tenderness, or numbness in your mouth or lips
  • Thickening tissues, rough spots, lumps, or eroded areas
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth


In the United States, it is estimated that 51,550 new cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancers will be diagnosed this year. Dental Associations urge the public to get regular oral cancer screenings and to self-check between examinations. This year, 2018, marks the 19th Annual Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

Research suggests that there are a number of factors that may contribute to the development of oral cancer. In the past, high-risk individuals would be identified as heavy drinkers and smokers older than 50 years old. Today, oral cancer is occurring more frequently in younger, nonsmoking people. If you have never had an oral cancer examination, there is no better time to schedule than the month of April!

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Exposure to HPV (Human Papillomavirus)


The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons lists a six-step self-oral health examination that you should perform on yourself each month.

  1. Remove any dentures
  2. Look and feel inside the lips and the front of gums
  3. Tilt head back to inspect and feel the roof of your mouth
  4. Pull the cheek out to see the inside surface as well as the back of the gums
  5. Pull out your tongue and look at all of its surfaces
  6. Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes (glands) on both sides of the neck including under the lower jaw

Final Thoughts

If you or someone you know has had oral cancer, please comment their story below. Please check out our other blog posts on cancer awareness.

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