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The Oral Cancer Foundation Announces the "Check Your Mouth" Campaign
The Oral Cancer Foundation Announces the

Most Americans have never heard of oral cancer, let alone how deadly it is. Oral cancer kills one person in the United States every hour of every day, all year round. In 2018, there will be approximately 50,000 Americans diagnosed with this form of cancer, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Oral and oropharyngeal cancers affect the base of the tongue, the tonsils, the soft palate, and the walls of the throat. Although relatively rare, these cancers have a very high mortality rate due to the fact that many cases are discovered at a late stage of the disease. The lack of awareness among the general public has made it a silent threat. And its prevalence seems to be on the rise. 

The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) has launched a nationwide public service campaign aimed at the early discovery of oral cancer. Their "Check Your Mouth™" effort is based on an interactive website designed to familiarize individuals with the disease, empowering them to find its early signs and symptoms through self-examination. Timely discovery of oral cancer, as with most cancer, may lead to less invasive treatments, and better outcomes and survival. 

Tobacco and alcohol

You may already know that tobacco use increases risk of oral cancers. High alcohol consumption can also put you at risk for oral cancer. Tobacco use of any form is a blatantly obvious oral health hazard, directly contributing to an increased risk of oral cancer.

HPV and oral cancers

According to the OCF site, the increase in oral cancer diagnoses may be the result of infection by a certain variant of the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV virus is common; The Centers for Disease Control states that 80% of Americans will have an HPV infection at some point in their lifetimes. For most people, the immune system clears the virus from their body, doing no harm whatsoever.

For a small number of Americans, however, the immune system can’t clear the virus, which can stay dormant for several years. Decades later, the infection may resurface and progress into cancer. 

Public awareness 

The "Check Your Mouth" site was designed to help people avoid the disease when possible, and teach them how to recognize its early signs and symptoms, and when to seek the advice of a dentist or other healthcare professional. 

The Self-discovery video at the site provides step-by-step directions on how to perform your own visual and tactile examination. This “Check Your Mouth™” exam actually starts outside of your mouth by looking at yourself in the mirror. The first step begins with checking your neck and lymph nodes and proceeding to checking the inside of your cheeks, your lips, gum tissues and tongue. It then moves to the floor and roof of your mouth and ends with the back of your mouth and tonsils.

The main objective of this OCF campaign is to reduce the incidence of difficult to treat, late stage oral cancer. The best outcomes, like most forms of cancer, occur with the earliest possible diagnosis. In the case of oral cancer, either a timely self-examination or regularly scheduled dental exams are vital for finding any signs of cancer.

Remember that you can perform self-examination, but only a dentist or healthcare professional can determine the presence of the disease. You can take the first step to beating oral cancer by visiting the “Check Your Mouth™” website.  

If you would like more information about oral cancer screening and prevention, or have any other dental concerns, please call El Portal Dental at (209) 385-1479 today, or schedule an appointment online. We are here to meet all of your dental needs.