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With April in full swing along with spring, we find ourselves officially in the midst of Oral Cancer Awareness month. This means a lot to us, because oral cancer claims the lives of people every hour of every day. We strive to work with our patients to help reduce those rates, as oral cancer is treatable when discovered in the early stages. The death rates for this cancer have traditionally been high because most oral cancer is typically discovered in the later stages when treatment isn’t effective. Dr. Jeffrey Lash is here to help change that, by creating more awareness around this disease.

In the early stages of the disease, you might not detect the cancer because there may be no pain or symptoms. And while in the past age was a risk factor occurring mostly in people over forty, this has changed. Today it is the younger generation that is more vulnerable. This is due to HPV as a new causation of the disease, which is sexually transmitted.

Symptoms to Look out For

–A white or red patch in the mouth (or small ulcer) that doesn’t heal within 14 days

–A lump in the inside of your mouth or neck

–Pain when you swallow, speak or chew

–Hoarseness that doesn’t go away

–Numbness in the face or mouth area

–A persistent ear ache on one side

While in the past it was people who smoked tobacco or heavily consumed alcohol that were most at-risk, today more young people are affected because of HPV. Unfortunately, the survivability rate among those who are diagnosed is still low, with only a little above 50% surviving past five years. This is why we work to improve this number by providing oral cancer screenings–to catch the disease early when treatment is most effective. Thankfully, we can often see and feel the tissue changes in the early stages while it is still small, making oral cancer screenings invaluable.

If you have any concerns, or to schedule a visit with Dr. Jeffrey Lash, please call our The Gentle Dentist team in Spring Hill, Florida at 352-398-4064 today!