Mouth Cancer Awareness Week is a public health and awareness campaign for raising awareness of mouth cancer. It promotes oral health and works to save lives from mouth cancer through prevention and early detection. The charity campaign is also for educating the public about mouth cancer especially its early signs and symptoms which are crucial for early detection.
Cancer is defined as the abnormal, uncontrollable growth of cells which invade and can damage the surrounding tissue. Mouth or oral cancer starts as a growth or sore in the mouth and it doesn’t go away even after a few weeks. Oral cancer includes cancer of the tongue, lips, cheeks, hard and soft palate, floor of the mouth, sinuses and throat. It is a life threatening disease when not diagnosed and treated early.
Mouth Cancer Awareness Week is a campaign that informs the public about the deadly disease. One of its most important advocacies is to inform the public about the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer which include the following:
- Swelling or thickening, lumps, rough spots or eroded areas of the gums, lips and any area inside the mouth
- Unexplained bleeding inside the mouth
- Unexplained pain, numbness or loss of feeling in any part of the mouth, neck or face
- Persistent sores on the mouth, face or neck which bleeds easily and do not heal up within 2 weeks
- A soreness or feeling that there is something stuck in the back of the throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking or in moving the tongue or jaw
- Hoarseness or change in the voice
- Chronic sore throat
- Pain inside the ears
- A change in the way the teeth or dentures fit together
- Unexplained, dramatic weight loss
If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to consult your dentist or health care professional
Purpose of Mouth Cancer Awareness Week
The main purpose for creating Mouth Cancer Awareness Week is to increase awareness of the less common form of cancer. It is for educating the public about this specific type of cancer, its symptoms, risk factors and ways to prevent it. Also, it works to improve care, support and research for patients who have mouth cancer.
Who Gets Oral Cancer?
Men are two times more likely to develop mouth cancer and men older than 50 face the greatest risk according to the American Cancer Society. There are approximately more than 40,000 Americans who were diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2014.
The risk factors for the development of mouth cancer are:
- Smokers are about six times more likely to develop mouth cancer
- Smokeless tobacco users are about 50 times more likely to develop oral cancers
- Excessive alcohol consumption. Mouth cancers are approximately six times more common in people who consume alcohol regularly
- Excessive sun exposure especially during younger years
- Human papillomavirus (HPV). There are HPV strains that are etiologic risk factors for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma
Take note that more than 25% of mouth cancers affect people who don’t smoke and only drink alcohol occasionally.
What you can do on Mouth Cancer Awareness Week?
- Help raise funds or donate for mouth cancer research
- Post on Facebook or tweet about Mouth Cancer Awareness Week including vital information regarding the deadly disease
- Organize an event in your community, at work or in school for Mouth Cancer Awareness Week
- Distribute informative materials about oral health and mouth cancer
- Talk to your family and friends about mouth cancer and how it can be prevented
Message on Mouth Cancer Awareness Week
More than 45,000 Americans will be diagnosed with mouth cancer this year and it will cause more than 8,600 deaths. This means that 1 person will die every hour from the disease. Mouth cancer is a serious condition that needs public attention. It is very important to learn about its early symptoms and the risk factors of individuals for early detection and treatment.
Special Tips on Mouth Cancer Awareness Week
Here are crucial tips for preventing mouth cancer:
- Stop or don’t start tobacco use
- Only drink alcohol in moderation
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and reduce consumption of processed foods
- Avoid excessive sun exposure to the lips and use sun protective lip products
- Get regular dental check-ups (at least twice a year if you don’t have oral problems)
The death rate for mouth cancer is higher than other types of cancer. Mouth Cancer Awareness Week is for reducing the deaths related to this type of cancer. The problem is that most people don’t even know that there are ways to prevent mouth cancer. Another problem is that most people aren’t aware of the symptoms so they usually get diagnosed late and this affects their survival rate. This is the time for everyone to unite and help with the cause of Mouth Cancer Awareness Week.