Michael Douglas raised awareness about Oral Cancer, but everyone giggled uncomfortably when he said it had to do with past sexual practices. Just because someone doesn’t have multiple partners, it doesn’t mean they won’t get oral cancer. With the new association with HPV, anyone who has had any kind of contact with other human beings, is at risk; a small risk, but one none-the-less.
Now, Dustin Hoffman has an opportunity to raise awareness about this sneaky disease of oropharyngeal cancer…one you don’t see. One that grows behind your tonsils, or at the base of your tongue. The ONLY way to prevent the escalation of this disease is through EDUCATION. People need to know the early signs of an HPV oral cancer. Here they are in a nutshell:
- Unexplained sore throat that persists
- Chronic hoarseness
- Lump in neck, often hard and NON-tender
- A feeling you need to clear your throat frequently
- Feeling something is caught in the back of your throat
- Change or difficulty in swallowing
There you have it! Oropharyngeal cancers (back of throat, base of tongue…) are beyond the scope of a dentist. See an ENT (Ear Nose Throat). You are the best advocate for your own health. If you are getting answers that don’t feel right, go elsewhere to find answers.