We rarely post about the same topic more than once, however if you have been a patient with us some time you will know we write about Mouth Cancer Action Month each year. Forgive us if you have read our numerous previous blogs on this topic, however this is a topic we are passionate about.
These last few years during Covid our message has become more urgent as many patients haven’t had the number of dental health checks they normally would have had.
Early detection is crucial to increase your chances of survival and Mouth Cancer can often be spotted during a thorough examination. If recognised early, then the chances of a cure are good. Did you know that Jonny, Leigh-Ann and I all look for warning signs or early symptoms of mouth cancer when we carry out a dental health check?
Although there are risk factors heavily linked to the disease (most cases are linked to tobacco and alcohol) Mouth Cancer can affect anybody – that’s why it’s so important to know what to look out for. Don’t leave an unhealed mouth ulcer unattended for more than three weeks. Don’t ignore any unusual lumps or swellings or red and white patches in your mouth. Early detection could save your life.
It’s never been more important to pay attention, new cases of mouth cancer in the UK have risen to a record high, according to the findings of a recent report. Figures collected by the Oral Health Foundation show that 8,722 people in the UK were diagnosed with the disease last year, increasing by 97% since 2000. In 2019 over two thousand people in the UK died from mouth cancer which is more than testicular and cervical cancer combined.
What causes mouth cancer?
As we mentioned above the two most common causes of mouth cancer are tobacco and alcohol consumption. The chemicals found in tobacco make it easy for cancerous cells to form, and alcohol dehydrates the cell walls inside your mouth, greatly increasing the chances of cancer cells being created. Furthermore, smoking and drinking at the same time can increase the chances of mouth cancer by 30 times! This happens because alcohol makes the mouth more absorbent, making it much easier for carcinogens to permeate the tissue inside your mouth.
How do I minimise my risk of developing mouth cancer?
The most important element in minimising your risk of developing an advanced case of mouth cancer is having frequent dental health checks and hygiene appointments. Spotting warning signs early on is vital.
How can I spot it?
Many cases of mouth cancer are detected at stage 4- when it is just too late to treat it. However, if it is spotted earlier, the chances of successfully treating mouth cancer becomes 9 out of 10! This is why it is so important to know the signs of the disease, so look out for:
· Mouth ulcers which do not heal in three weeks
· Red and white patches in the mouth
· Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth
If you have noticed any change or anything unusual in your mouth, or any of the signs above it is imperative you call us on 020 8958 0136 to book a thorough examination. The Oral Health Foundation say the most important message is ‘If in doubt, get checked out’ as it may save your life!