April is oral cancer awareness month; health experts work to raise awareness

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 6:28 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and health experts are working to raise awareness about the risks, treatments, and prevention.

Dentists say many signs can be overlooked--- which is why dental associations urge regular oral cancer examinations.

Dr. Brett Rhodes of North Roanoke Dental Associates says early detection is key and can save lives.

“This year, 55,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with an oral cancer. And the key is really to catch them early. If we can find these things at your six-month or one-year checkups. We can catch these things very early and try to prevent it from being a bigger problem for you,” said Dr. Rhodes.

Health leaders say smokers and excessive alcohol drinkers 50 and older are most at risk.

The Virginia Dental Association says If you see things like a red or white patch, or have difficulty chewing, you should see a dentist, especially if any of these symptoms do not disappear in two weeks.

You can read more about oral cancer on the Virginia Dental Association’s website.

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