Ann-Marie Banks, from Apollonia House Dental and Health Care in Grasscroft, offers some advice ahead of Mouth Cancer Awareness Month.
Please feel free to call Apollonia House Dental and Health on 01457 821800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for any dental questions or concerns you have. You can also visit their website.
As we approach November, which is Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, here are a few things to look out for to keep you safe and healthy.
Mouth cancer can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat. Anyone can be affected, whether they have their own teeth or not and the disease is more common in people over 40, particularly men.
However, research has shown mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in women.
There are more than 640,000 cases of mouth cancer diagnosed each year worldwide and it is the eleventh most common. There are, on average, almost 7,000 new cases diagnosed in the UK each year.
Most cases of mouth cancer are linked to tobacco and alcohol. Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking are the main forms but traditional habits in some cultures of chewing tobacco, betel quid, gutkha and paan are particularly dangerous.
Alcohol increases the risk of mouth cancer, and if tobacco and alcohol are taken together the risk is even greater.
Over-exposure to sunlight can also increase the risk of cancer of the lips.
Many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV). This is the main cause of cervical cancer and affects skin that lines the moist areas of the body.
HPV can be spread through oral sex, and research now suggests it could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer. Many people get HPV and it does not cause a problem. There are now HPV vaccines.
Mouth cancer can appear in different forms, sometimes a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into a cancer. Be aware of any unusual lumps in your mouth or jaw area and any persistent hoarseness.
It is important to visit your dental team or doctor if these areas do not heal in three weeks.
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 swelling in the mouth or head and neck area.
Mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dental team during a thorough mouth examination. If mouth cancer is diagnosed early, then the chances of a cure are good.
Please contact Apollonia House for any advice on 01457 821800 or via the website.