20 Feb Oral Cancer Advice
Oral Cancer, what is it and how can you identify it early?
Dentist play a big role in detecting oral cancers and informing patients of the risks as oral cancer has a survival rate of 90% when detected early. It is important to be aware of the symptoms and causes of mouth cancer as incidences have risen by 25% in the last 10 years. Mouth cancer can include various types of tumours that appear on the lips, salivary gland, tongue, gums, inside of the cheeks. You can get also get cancer that effects the root of the tongue, soft palate, tonsils and the upper part of the throat which is called pharyngeal cancer.
There are a few health & lifestyle choices that cause mouth cancer. Tobacco is said to be the main cause of mouth cancer with 75% of mouth and throat cancers occurring in smokers. Alcohol also plays a part with people who drink excessively increasing their chances of mouth cancer by four times. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and poor diet are also something to be aware of.
What are common symptoms to look out for?
- Sore mouth ulcers that do not heal within several weeks
- Unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth that do not go away
- Unexplained, persistent lumps in the lymph glands in the neck that do not go away
What other symptoms might I experience?
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Changes in your voice or problems with speech
- Unintentional weight loss
- Bleeding or numbness in the mouth
- 1 or more teeth that becomes loose for no obvious reason, or a tooth socket that does not heal after a tooth is removed (extraction)
- Difficulty moving your jaw
- Red or white patches on the lining of your mouth. These are common and are rarely a sign of cancer, but they can sometimes turn into cancer, so it’s worth seeing a doctor if you have them
Many of these symptoms are caused by less serious issues such as infections. We also subject our mouth to hot food or drinks and we can accidentally bite ourselves occasionally, these cause damage to the soft tissues of the mouth. If your symptoms don’t last any longer then 3 weeks, then you don’t need notify your dentist.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, please call the practice on 01784 432 641 immediately to make an appointment for an oral cancer screening.