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Smile Blog

Oral Cancer Awareness Month: 7 Signs You Might Have Oral Cancer and How to Prevent It

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, which puts focus on this specific type of cancer that is not often highlighted as much as it should be. According to, almost 55,000 people are diagnosed each year with some type of oral cancer, and the equivalent of one adult will die as a result of oral cancer every hour.

It’s recommended to do self-checks on a regular basis as well as visiting the dentist consistently (every six months) for your dental check-up. Both the doctors and dental hygienists at Cusumano & Stuver are trained to detect oral cancer.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer refers to cancer that is found on the lips, tongue, gums, mouth and our throat lining. Check out this video for more information:

What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?

Did you know that during your check-up we conduct an oral cancer screening as part of your exam? There’s no need to worry about an oral cancer screening — you may not even notice we are conducting one! We check the inside of your mouth for sores and run our hands inside to detect any lumps.

As with all cancers, early detection is key to successful treatment. If we identify any abnormalities, we can refer you to a specialist straight away. We encourage you to be aware of the oral cancer symptoms and if you experience any of these for more than a week, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team immediately and do not wait until your scheduled appointment.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

  • White or red patches in your mouth

  • A mouth sore, lump, or swelling in your mouth

  • Unexplained bleeding in your mouth

  • Throat pain or soreness as though something is stuck in your throat

  • Problem or pain with swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue

  • Ear pain

  • Sudden weight loss

How to Reduce Chances of Getting Oral Cancer

It’s important to know that oral cancer can be experienced by anyone, however, men are twice as likely to have it. Research suggests that taking the following steps could reduce your risk of developing oral cancer:

  • Reduce the use of tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption

  • Avoid excessive sun exposure on the lips and wear an SPF lip balm

  • Practice healthy oral hygiene habits at home

  • Visit the dentist regularly (ADA suggests every 6 months)

  • Eating a well-balanced and healthy diet

Drs. Cusumano & Stuver and the rest of our dental team are always here to answer any questions you might have about the screening as well as provide support if you have experienced any of the symptoms outlined above.

For more information please contact our Arlington dental office for a consultation about oral cancer. Please also share this with your loved ones to ensure they are aware of the symptoms to watch out for.


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