Skip to main content

November is Mouth Cancer Action Month

November is a special month for many reasons. We come together for all of the Thanksgiving festivities, enjoy the last moments of fall, and begin feeling the anticipation of the holiday season. But there’s another special reason November is important – it’s Mouth Cancer Action Month. This annual event, organized by the Mouth Cancer Foundation, sheds light on the importance of early detection, prevention, and support for those affected by mouth cancer. With more than 50,000 new diagnoses every year in America alone, this is certainly an event your general dentist in Harrisonburg can get behind.  

What Is Mouth Cancer?

Mouth cancer, often called oral cancer, refers to cancer that occurs in the mouth, lips, tongue, gums, the roof or floor of the mouth, or the inner lining of the cheeks. It often begins as a tiny, painless sore or lump, making it essential for individuals to pay close attention to any unusual changes in their oral health. Oral cancer can affect anyone no matter their age, gender, or background. This makes Mouth Cancer Action Month a crucial initiative to raise awareness and educate people about this potentially life-threatening condition.

Signs of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can manifest in various ways, and the signs and symptoms may include:

  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Unexplained pain or discomfort
  • A lump or sore that doesn’t heal
  • Difficulty in chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaw
  • Changes in speech
  • Numbness in the mouth or lips

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to see your Harrisonburg dentist immediately.

Mouth Cancer Action Month: A Lifesaving Initiative

Mouth Cancer Action Month, which takes place every November, is a dedicated effort to combat this serious health issue. It aims to achieve three primary objectives:

  • Raise Awareness: The campaign aims to make people more aware of the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer. Often, early detection is key to successful treatment. Knowing what to look for can make a significant difference in one’s health.
  • Promote Early Detection: The campaign promotes early detection by encouraging people to self-examine their mouths regularly and attend check-ups with their dentist. After all, the survival rate for those diagnosed at an early stage is significantly higher.
  • Offer Support: Mouth cancer can profoundly impact not only the person diagnosed but also their loved ones. The campaign provides a platform for support and information for those affected by the disease, offering resources and guidance for patients and their families. The Mouth Cancer Foundation’s website has tons of free resources available.

Take Action

Getting involved in Mouth Cancer Action Month is not only about raising awareness but also taking steps to prevent this condition. Here are some things you can do to lower your risk. 

  • Quit using tobacco
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Use sunscreen and UV lip protection
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Get screened by your dentist in Harrisonburg

In between dental visits, it’s also important to perform self-examinations at home. Simply look for any changes in the appearance or feel of your mouth, lips, and throat. If you notice anything unusual, consult your dentist as soon as possible

It’s important to remember that early detection can significantly improve the prognosis of mouth cancer. The survival rate for those diagnosed at an early stage is notably higher, underlining the importance of regular dental check-ups and self-examinations.

Mouth cancer can be a devastating diagnosis, for the individual and for their family and loved ones as well. But you can be a part of the solution and offer hope to those facing this challenging disease. Together, we can save lives, offer support, and work towards a future where mouth cancer is better understood and, ultimately, defeated.