dentists

Mouth Cancer – Awareness is key!

November is #MouthCancerAwarenessMonth and as with all cancers awareness is key, catching any signs of mouth cancer early will make treatment easier, less invasive and hopefully lead to cure. So let’s take a look at the signs, symptoms and causes of mouth or oral cancer…

Last year, there were 8,772 new instances of mouth cancer in the United Kingdom.

What is mouth cancer and what causes it?
The majority of individuals have heard of cancers that affect the lungs or breasts. Cancer, on the other hand, can arise in the mouth, affecting the lips, tongue, cheeks, and neck. Regular dental check ups will help spot the signs early, and if you do notice anything irregular then consult your dentist as soon as possible.

Who is at risk of developing mouth cancer?
Mouth cancer is the world’s sixth most prevalent cancer, however it’s significantly less common in the UK. In the United Kingdom, roughly 8,300 persons are diagnosed with mouth cancer each year, accounting for about one in every 50 cancer cases. Adults over the age of 55 account for more than two-thirds of all cases of mouth cancer.

What are the causes of oral cancer?
Tobacco and alcohol are the leading causes of oral cancer. In many regions of the world, cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking are the most popular tobacco products. However, chewing tobacco, betel quid, gutkha, and paan are all deadly traditional behaviours in various cultures.

Alcohol raises the risk of oral cancer, and combining cigarettes and alcohol raises the risk even more. Overexposure to the sun can also raise the risk of developing lip cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer?
Mouth cancer can manifest itself in a variety of ways and affect any area of the mouth, tongue, or lips. A painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally can be a sign of oral cancer. A cancerous white or red spot in the mouth can also form. Any strange lumps in your mouth or jaw area, as well as persistent hoarseness, should be taken seriously. If these regions do not heal within three weeks, you should see your dentist or doctor. Even if you’re not sure, get a check-up

How might early detection of mouth cancer be achieved?
During a comprehensive oral examination, your dental staff may often detect mouth cancer in its early stages. The odds of a cure are good if oral cancer is detected early. Many people with oral cancer wait too long to see their dentist, but if you set up a regular check up schedule with your own dentist then early detection is more likely.

58% of mouth cancers appear on the tongue and tonsils.

Is there anything I can do from the comfort of my own home?
Pay attention to what’s going on in your mouth. Examine yourself on a regular basis. Ask your dentist or doctor to examine you if you have any ulcers that have not healed in three weeks, any strange red or white patches, lumps in your neck or jaw area, or chronic hoarseness. Although there is unlikely to be anything terribly wrong, a timely diagnosis could save your life.

What does a thorough oral examination entail?
A small mirror will be used to examine the interior of your mouth and your tongue. Your neck and underneath your jaw will be examined as well. This examination will be performed by dentists as part of a standard dental check-up. Remember that your dental staff has access to areas of your mouth that you may not be able to see.

What if my dentist discovers a problem?
If they discover something uncommon, they will refer you to a hospital consultant who will examine your mouth and throat thoroughly. A small sample of the cells from the area (a biopsy) will be taken and examined under a microscope to see what is wrong.

So, what’s next?
More testing will be performed if the cells are malignant. Overall health examinations, blood tests, x-rays, and scans are examples. These tests will determine the best course of treatment.

Is mouth cancer curable?
The chances of a complete cure are favourable if oral cancer is detected early, and the smaller the region or ulcer, the better the probability of a cure. However, because they do not undergo regular mouth examinations, too many people come forward too late.

What can I do to keep my mouth in good shape?
Stop smoking and limit the amount of alcohol you consume. A well-balanced, healthy diet that includes at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day can also aid in the prevention of a variety of other malignancies.

Here at Byways we believe in providing you with the best oral care which is why we ensure our team is aware of the signs of mouth cancer and can help detect any problems as early as possible, we also invest in some of the most advanced technology in the area. We use low-radiation digital x-rays and cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans to accurately diagnose oral health issues while protecting your overall health.

Contact us to book your next appointment – call 01184 439 366 or email info@bywaysdental.co.uk