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Oral Cancer Series: April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

By Jill Hamilton on April 3, 2012 in Dental Health

Couple walking on a bridgeOn average in America, one person every hour will die of oral cancer. That is, 8,760 people every year. So why is the death rate high in a country that has developed many cures and treatments for other diseases and cancers? The answer is actually very simple. Oral cancer is routinely diagnosed after the cancer has already spread to various parts of the body.

Oral cancer normally develops on the surfaces of the mouth, tongue or lips (1). Sores or growths may appear and can indicate a problem, but some oral cancers do not present pain or severe symptoms. This can allow the cancer to grow and spread. Once spread, your survival rate decreases.

Five stage groupings are used to describe the cancer. Cancer severity increases with advancing stages. Stage 0 refers to cancer that has not invaded deeper tissue or spread, whereas stage 4 includes tumors that have spread to distant sites (2).

In order to educate people about the risks of oral cancer, April was declared the official oral cancer awareness month, 13 years ago. To support the awareness effort, Delta Dental of Iowa will be doing a Tuesday series dedicated to all aspects of oral cancer during the month of April. Awareness of the risks and symptoms associated with oral cancer is crucial in reducing the rate of deaths from this cancer.

Delta Dental of Iowa will also be posting links to information about FREE oral cancer screenings occurring in Iowa during the month of April. We can all be proactive and get screened to help reduce the rate of deaths caused by oral cancer. Below are two links with information about FREE screenings tomorrow April 4th.

Pleasant Hill, IA 

Ames, IA

  1. “National Cancer Institute.” What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer –. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <>.