Cases of mouth cancer are on the rise in the UK.
According to the NHS, around 6,800 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer every year. Mouth cancer mostly affects people aged 50 to 74 and men are at greater risk than women.
Thankfully – early detection can dramatically improve your chances of recovery.
Symptoms of mouth cancer include ulcers, lumps in the mouth and neck, loose teeth, numbness in the lips or tongue, changes in your speech such as a lisp, and white or red patches in the mouth or on the tongue.
How often should I be getting screened?
The general recommendation is to get a mouth cancer screening at least once a year. However, if you have histories of the illness in your family you may want to keep a more regular check on things.
If you notice a small lump or are affected by long-term ulcers we highly recommend having these treated, as this will do more good than harm even if you are healthy.
Some additional symptoms to look out for include:
- White/red patches situated on gum, tongue or lips
- Pain/difficulty chewing or swallowing, prolonged earache
- Hoarseness of voice which does not go away
- Numbness/pain that does not subside
- Bleeding gums, sores on lips or inside of the mouth
It is important to be vigilant and look out for these things because if cancer goes undetected, it can spread further and have more severe effects on the patient.
Is there any way to prevent mouth cancer?
Mouth cancer or oral cancer is often associated with smoking and drinking alcohol in excess. However, even non-smokers and non-drinkers can be affected by the disease.
Some additional risk factors include:
- Those who are over 55 years
- People who are continually exposed to sunlight
- People with HPV or those with a weakened immune system or skin diseases
Our dentists can check for oral cancer symptoms during each of your routine dental check-ups. As with most types of cancer, the sooner it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.
If you would like to have a mouth cancer screening or add it to your regular check-ups, call us on 020 8224 7562.
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