In the UK, more than 7,000 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer last year. The disease has grown by a third in the last decade… that’s why Mouth Cancer Action Month is so important.
Did you know that every time you attend for a dental check up, we screen your mouth for oral cancer?
A lot of people today are aware of the general benefits of good oral health, but one benefit many people may not have considered is that regular examination's of the mouth, particularly by a dentist, could be potentially life-saving, as it can lead to the identification of the early warning signs of mouth cancer.
What is Mouth cancer?
Most people have heard of cancer affecting parts of the body such as the lungs or breasts. However, cancer can also occur in the mouth, where the disease can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.
Anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, whether they have their own teeth or not. Mouth cancers are more common in people over 40, particularly men. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women.
In the last year more than 7,000 have been diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK – an increase of more than a third compared to a decade ago. Sadly, more than 1,800 people in the UK lose their life to mouth cancer every year.
What can cause mouth cancer?
Around 91% of all diagnoses of mouth cancer are linked to our lifestyle and by amending these choices, we can help cut the chances of developing mouth cancer. Here are the risk factors that have been shown to play a major role in contracting the disease:
What are the signs of mouth cancer?
As mouth cancer can strike in a number of places, including the lips, tongue, gums and cheek, and given that early detection is so crucial for survival, it’s extremely important that we all know what to look out for and to inform your GP or Dentist immediately. Three signs and symptoms NOT to ignore are:
- Ulcers which do not heal in three weeks.
- Red and white patches in the mouth.
- Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area.
How can mouth cancer be detected?
Mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dentist during a thorough mouth examination. Remember, your dentist is able to see parts of your mouth that you cannot see easily yourself. If mouth cancer is recognised early, then the chances of a cure are high which is why its important to keep up with regular dental appointments.
Here are the six basic areas your dentist will investigate during a normal check-up:
- Head and neck
- Roof of the mouth
- Floor of the mouth
For more information, please click here to visit the Mouth Cancer Action Month's official website to learn more about the charity and to donate. Or take a #BlueLipSelfie like some of the Beeston Dental Practice's team to help raise awareness....
If you would like any further information or are worried about any signs or symptoms, then please contact the practice on 0115 9254169.