Many people have some experience with cancer – but it is not widely known that mouth cancer causes more deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer or melanomas. That’s why this November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, we’re helping to spread awareness of the disease and aim to help save lives by promoting oral health checks and early detection.
In the UK alone, more than 7,500 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer last year, and disturbingly, the figures are only set to rise(1). Drinking and smoking are cited as the biggest causes of mouth cancer, but it can also be caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is transmitted through sex and can also cause cervical cancer.
How to stay safe
At Southview Dental Care, we always recommend that patients visit us every six months so that we can keep an eye on any potential problems in their mouth and surrounding areas. At these appointments, we complete a full oral health check which looks at your teeth, gums, soft tissues, neck, throat and tongue which allows us to spot any areas of concern. If we find anything concerning, we refer you to a consultant at hospital who may take a small sample of cells ready for testing, known as a biopsy.
What to look out for
As with other areas of your body, we recommend that you get to know what’s normal for you and what’s not. If for example you’ve had a sore patch that hasn’t gone away for more than two weeks, or you’ve found a lump, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and get them checked as soon as possible.
What if I find something concerning?
If you find something that’s got you worried, the best thing you can do is visit your dentist as soon as possible. Fortunately, if oral cancer is detected early, it can often be cured. Problems tend to arise when people fail to take their oral health seriously and don’t have regular dental check-ups.
To book in for a thorough dental check-up, or to talk to us about an area of concern, call us today on: 01732 865021.