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Everything You Need to Know About Oral Cancer

Every year in April, Oral Cancer Awareness Month allows us to put the spotlight on this common disease so that people get diagnosed quickly to increase their survival rate. Dr. Harriman is your first port of call when identifying oral cancer and our dental team in Falls Church does this during your biannual check-up, so there’s no additional appointment required — therefore it’s crucial you don’t skip your regular dental appointments.


Around 54,000 people in the US are diagnosed with some type of oral cancer each year. The death toll accounts for the equivalent of someone dying every hour of the day for the entire year, and men are twice as likely to get oral cancer during their lifetime.


Being aware of the symptoms and the risk factors associated with oral cancer is important so if you do spot anything you’re concerned about your oral health, don’t delay your visit to our dental office in Falls Church.


Oral Cancer Symptoms

In order to catch the disease early, Dr. Harriman advises our patients to look out for the most common symptoms listed below during their daily oral health routine to spot any problems early.

  • A sore or sores in your mouth or on your lip that doesn't heal

  • White or red patch inside of your mouth

  • A lump or growth in your mouth or cheeks

  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing

  • Pain in your ear or mouth

  • Loose tooth or teeth

How to Reduce Your Chance of Getting Oral Cancer

As with many cancers, your general health and habits affect your chances of getting oral cancer, but for oral cancer specifically, you can take the additional actions to help reduce your chances of getting it:

  • Minimizing tobacco and alcohol intake

  • Protecting your lips from the sun by using SPF lip balm

  • Receiving the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination can also help

Regular dental cleanings and oral cancer check-ups are key for early detection so don’t delay and get in touch if you have any of the symptoms above for more than two weeks. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call to discuss any concerns in more detail.