Around 8,300 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer each year in the UK, which is about 1 in every 50 cancers diagnosed. Mouth cancer is the 6th most common cancer in the world. More than two in three cases of mouth cancer develop in adults over the age of 55. Statistics show that men are more likely to get mouth cancer than women. This may be because, on average, men tend to drink more alcohol than women. The truth is anyone can be affected by mouth cancer, whether they have their own teeth or not. Research has now shown that mouth cancer is becoming more common in younger patients and in woman. HPV infection is thought to be linked with the most mouth cancers that happen in younger people.
There are a number of things that can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer including smoking or using tobacco in other ways, such as chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol, diet and the environment.
Mouth cancer is also known as oral cancer, this is when a tumour develops in a part of the mouth whether it’s the surface of the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, the lips or gums. These tumours can also develop in the salivary glands, the tonsils and the pharynx.
Symptoms of mouth cancer
There are a number of symptoms of mouth cancer which everyone needs to be aware of, these are as follows:
- Mouth ulcers that are painful and do not heal within several weeks
- Persistent lumps in the mouth or the neck that do not go away
- Loose teeth or sockets that do not heal after extractions
- Persistent numbness or an odd feeling on the lip or tongue
- White or red patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue, these can be early signs of cancer, so they should also be checked
- Changes in speech, such as a lisp
Visit your dentist or doctor if these areas do not heal within three weeks. If you aren’t sure, go for a check-up anyway.
How is mouth cancer treated
There are three main treatment options for mouth cancer, including:
- Surgery to remove the cancerous cells
- Radiotherapy – where beams of radiation are directed at the cancerous cells
- chemotherapy – where powerful medicines are used to kill cancerous cells
Preventing mouth cancer
The most effective ways of preventing mouth cancer from happening or stopping it from coming back after successful treatment. Firstly, stop smoking or using tobacco in other ways i.e. chewing tobacco. Ensure you are alcohol aware and don’t not exceed the recommend guidance. Ensure you are eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes fresh vegetables (particularly tomatoes), citrus fruits, olive oil and fish
It is very important to visit your dentist on a regular basis as you get a free mouth cancer screening with every examination. If you have any questions or would like to book in to see a dentist, please do not hesitate to call us today on 01922 622 483.