April is not only the beginning of spring but also marks the start of two important health awareness campaigns: Oral Cancer Awareness Month and Facial Protection Month.
Oral Cancer Awareness Month aims to spread awareness about the risks and potential signs of oral cancer, which can affect the lips, tongue, gums, and other areas of the mouth. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, an estimated 54,600 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2023 alone. Sadly, the mortality rate for oral cancer is still high, with one person dying from the disease every hour.
Oral Cancer Early Detection
To raise awareness about this deadly cancer, dental and medical professionals encourage people to undergo regular oral cancer screenings. Early detection is crucial to effective treatment, so it is essential to schedule regular dental check-ups and communicate any concerns with your dentist or doctor. During a screening, your healthcare provider will examine your mouth and throat for any abnormal lumps, bumps, or sores. Additionally, they may ask about your risk factors, such as tobacco or alcohol use, family history, and exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV).
In addition to scheduling regular screenings, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of developing oral cancer. Along with avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol consumption, you can significantly decrease your chances of developing the disease by practicing good oral hygiene: brushing, flossing and using mouthwash regularly.
April is also Facial Protection Month, and the goal is to educate people about the importance of protecting their faces during physical activities. As oral surgeons, we are all too familiar with facial injuries – particularly among children and young adults – that can cause long-term damage and disfigurement. Wearing protective gear, such as helmets, face shields, and mouth guards, can significantly reduce the risk of incurring life-altering facial injuries.
It is also important to remember that facial protection extends beyond sports. For instance, people who work in construction or other high-risk occupations should wear appropriate safety gear to prevent facial injuries. Additionally, those who ride motorcycles or bicycles should wear helmets to protect their heads and faces in the event of an accident.
As you can see, April is a crucial month for health awareness campaigns that aim to prevent two distinct yet significant health issues. While Oral Cancer Awareness Month promotes the importance of regular cancer screenings, lifestyle changes, and early detection to reduce the risk of oral cancer, Facial Protection Month promotes wearing protective gear during physical activities and high-risk occupations to prevent facial injuries.
Oral Cancer Screenings
How can we help? Our surgical team provides regular screenings to detect oral cancer in its early stages when it is most effectively and least invasively treated. By taking preventative measures and seeking medical attention early, you can protect your quality of life and prevent potential long-term health damage. Please give us a call today to schedule an exam!