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Oral Cancer Screening by your dentist
Mouth cancer affect anyone, however in many cases it can be linked to lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, poor diet and sexual activity. Oral cancer is one of the UK’s fastest increasing cancers, with cases in the UK up by more than 50% in the last decade alone.
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.
Before every consultation our dentists start with an extra-oral and intra-oral examination, taking into account the medical history and lifestyle of our patients, checking for any abnormalities, sign or symptoms. If your dentist finds something unusual they will refer you to a hospital consultant.
When mouth cancer is spotted early, the chances of a complete cure are good, However, too many people come forward too late, because they do not visit their dentist for regular examinations, if you have any concerns you must mention them and get it checked out.
Sadly, more than 1,800 people in the UK lose their life to mouth cancer every year. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer was caught early enough. As it is, people with mouth cancer are more likely to die than those having cervical cancer or melanoma skin cancer.
What signs and symptoms of mouth cancer do we look for?
As mouth cancer can strike in a number of places including the tongue, gums, lips and cheek it is very important that you know what to look for. If you experience any of these, get it checked out by your dentist or doctor:
- Ulcers which do not heal within 3 weeks
- Red and white patches in the mouth
- Lumps or swellings in the mouth, head or neck area
when mouth cancer is spotted early, the chances of a complete cure are good, However, too many people come forward too late, because they do not visit their dentist for regular examinations.
How can I keep my mouth healthy?
It is important to visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, even if you wear dentures. This is especially important if you smoke and drink alcohol.
When brushing your teeth, look out for any changes in your mouth, and report any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above.
When exposed to the sun, be sure to use a good protective sun cream, and put the correct type of barrier cream on your lips.
A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E, provides protection against the development of mouth cancer. Plenty of fruit and vegetables help the body to protect itself, in general, from most cancers.
Cut down on your smoking and drinking.