Mouth cancer is one of the few cancers in the UK which has seen cases rise, over the past decade there has been an increase of nearly 50% in the number of people being diagnosed with mouth cancer. This year in the UK around 8,300 people will be given the life changing news that they have mouth cancer and it still claims more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined. However, with early diagnosis the five-year survival rate can be as high as 90%.
Mouth cancer is known to affect twice as many men as women with smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and the human papillomavirus the main risk factors.
Oral health checks and visual examinations are the best way to identify any suspicious lesions. Another great reason to ensure you book in for your routine dental appointment.
When you come in for your appointment the dentist will not only focus on an examination of your mouth they will also ask you a number of lifestyle questions. If you smoke, drink more than the recommended amount of alcohol per week, are over 50 or use chewing or smokeless tobacco these factors can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer.
The dentist will then perform a methodical examination of your mouth to detect any abnormalities. They will use a mirror to check all the tissue in your mouth including your tongue and the sides of your mouth.
If the dentist finds anything that is unusual or abnormal they will refer you to the local hospital for a specialist to perform a thorough examination of your mouth and throat. They may take a biopsy of any affected areas so the cells can be looked at closely under a microscope.
If the cells turn out to be cancerous then the consultant will be able to advise on the best course of treatment.
If mouth cancer is spotted early the chances of a complete cure are very good and the smaller the area or ulcer the better the chance of a cure.
However too many people do not visit their dentist for routine appointments so often any problems are noticed too late.
Top tips to ensure that your mouth stays healthy
- Visit your dentist for regular appointments so that any problems can be identified early and treated quickly.
- When brushing your teeth look out for any red or white patches or ulcers that do not clear up within three weeks
- Ensure you have a full a varied diet, rich in vitamins. Plenty of fruit and vegetables can help the body protect itself from most cancers.
- Cut down on the amount you smoke and drink
If you are worried by a patch or ulcer that has not healed do not hesitate to book an appointment, call Leigh Dental Centre today on 01702 729929. If in doubt get it checked out!