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Effingham Magazine

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month


Cancer can be a terrible thing to experience. The best prognosis for all cancers starts with early detection so the quicker it’s found, the quicker you can start treatment. What does oral cancer look like? Here are some signs and symptoms to look for at home.

What is Oral and Throat Cancer?

It’s a collection of cancers that occur in and around the mouth and throat, globally affecting about 1 billion people annually. There are several risk factors that lead to oral cancers with the main three being tobacco use, alcohol use and HPV infections.

Are They Rare and Dangerous?

According to the National Cancer Institute, pharyngeal cancers—along with oral cancer—account for around 3% of all cancer diagnoses. Oral and throat cancers can be very dangerous and spread quickly if not diagnosed and treated early.

What are Signs and Symptoms of Oral and Throat Cancers?

A white (and/or red) patch, lesion, lump, sore, or ulcer in the mouth and throat that doesn’t rub off or go away with time. You may/may not have persistent sore throat or cough, voice changes, especially hoarseness or not speaking clearly, swollen lymph nodes (with or without pain), difficulty swallowing, ear pain, or weight loss.

What can be Mistaken for Oral and Throat Cancer?

The signs of throat cancer mimic symptoms of other conditions, such as traumatic lesions, allergies, colds, and sinus infections. Other diseases and illnesses can clinically resemble oral cancers too, adding to the need for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Is Oral and Throat Cancer Easy to Diagnose?

No. Cancer can not be diagnosed by just looking at it. Only a biopsy can determine if something is cancerous or not. Annual oral cancer screenings performed by a licensed and trained dentist/physician are recommended.

Can I Screen for Oral Cancer at Home?

Absolutely! You can look and perform your own oral and throat cancer screening and let us know if you see anything suspicious.

What is Suspicious? What am I Looking for in the Mouth?

Look inside of your mouth for white or red lesions, patches or sores. Check everywhere in the mouth including above, below and the sides of the inner cheek and tongue as well as the roof of the mouth and back of the throat.

What if I See Anything Suspicious?

Take a picture of it and keep watching it for two weeks. Gargle with warm salt water rinses for that time. If you have any white, and/or red, lesion, patch, sore or ulcer in the mouth that is not healing after two weeks, notify your dentist or doctor right away.

At iHeart Dental, Dr. Misty Seale and her team take oral cancer detection seriously and want you to be the best and healthiest you can for as long as you can.

If you have any suspicious areas or lesions you need looked at, let us know so we can schedule your free Oral Cancer Screening with Dr. Seale and her team. Call us today to schedule your next appointment and become a part of the iHeart Dental family.


(912) 499-1133

135 Goshen Rd Ext #205, Rincon