Oral Cancer

He won’t admit it, but Philip McCarthy, MD, is in the business of saving lives. He gives his patients hope; he gives families hope. He’s a world-renowned physician who has dedicated his career, his passion and his life to providing advanced stem cell transplants to hematological cancer patients.

As a Stage IV oral cancer survivor, I am very passionate about spreading awareness. Oral, head and neck cancers are profoundly different than other cancers in that they limit one’s ability to swallow, eat and talk.

There was a point in my journey when I said, “That’s it; I give up.” This cancer is so different from others, and I felt that no one knew what I was going through – emotionally, physically or spiritually. I looked different and I couldn’t eat. The feeding tube was one of the hardest parts for me.

Oral health is a crucial component of cancer care. About 40 percent of patients develop complications that affect the mouth. Head and neck radiation, chemotherapy, and blood and marrow transplantation can cause issues ranging from dry mouth to life-threatening infections. These problems interfere with cancer treatment and affect quality of life.

April is Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Month—the perfect time to learn more about your risk factors. Unlike a mammogram, a PSA test, or other routine cancer screenings, oral cancer screening is something most people don’t think to ask about at the doctor’s office.

This month, recognized as Oral Cancer Awareness Month, take a few minutes to understand how your sex life may affect your risk of oral cancer.