April is Oral Cancer Awareness month.
On average 50,000+ people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the United States. An estimated 9,000 people a year die from this disease. The mortality rate for Oral cancer is extremely high. This is because this type of cancer is often discovered very late in its development and treatment may not be an option.
A few risk factors for oral cancer:
- Using Tobacco
- Consuming Alcohol – more so when using tobacco at the same time
- Poor Nutrition
- Poor Oral Hygiene
There is a five step oral cancer self exam that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
- Look and feel inside the lips and the front of your gums.
- Tilt your head back to inspect and feel the roof of your mouth.
- Pull your cheek out to see it’s inside surface as well as the back of your gums.
- Pull out your tongue and look at all of the surfaces.
- Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes on bother sides of your neck including under your jaw.
Several things to look for during your exam include:
- White or red patches
- A soar that won’t heal and easily bleeds
- Abnormal lumps
- Continuous sore throat and hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
If any of the above apply to you make the call to your dentist. Your family dentist could detect oral cancer during your routine dental examinations.
The NRWA Healthy Benefits program doesn’t only offer medical insurance. The program also offers dental coverage. If you are enrolled in the dental you get two FREE preventive dental visits a year. During these visits/cleanings your dentist can do an oral cancer check for you.
Mike Keith Insurance has partnered with the NRWA and Lifestyle Health plans to bring you and your members an affordable solution to the ever rising cost of health care. Our team of health insurance experts has over 30 years of benefits experience and we are looking forward to being your healthcare advocates.