April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

My name is Berlinda James, and I am a very rare STAGE 1 Base of Tongue Oral Cancer Survivor. I am rare in the sense that oral cancer is rarely caught early. I have met a lot Stage 4 survivors, but in the four years since my diagnosis, I have only met one other Stage 1. This needs to change.

I am blessed that I did not need radiation or chemotherapy. I only had surgery to remove the 2 cm lesion at the base of my tongue, near my throat. This is why I am such a vocal advocate for prevention, early detection, and awareness of Oral Cancer.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 60% of all people with Oral Cancer survive for five years. Chances of survival greatly improve, when it is caught early.

In late 2013, Dr. Fukano, of Forks Family Dental, saved my life by acting quickly so:

– Please see your dentist regularly….ask to be screened.

– If you use tobacco products…..take measures to quit. In the meanwhile, please avoid using tobacco products and alcohol simultaneously.

– Please consider getting your teens vaccinated against the HPV Virus. HPV is the second leading cause of Oral Cancer.

Thanks for reading…….pass the word.

Berlinda James