Oral Cancer screenings test people for early signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer is rare in the UK and once detected, treated patients have a 90% survival rate.
The sign and symptoms:
Oral cancer can be invisible in its early stages, once it develops it might not even cause pain or discomfort. Therefore, it is crucial for everyone to have an oral caner screening once a year. The common symptoms of oral cancer are:
- A lump in the mouth and/or throat
- An ulcer that does not go away within three weeks
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Numbness of the tongue and other areas in the mouth
- Swelling of the jaw that prevents dentures from fitting comfortably
- Swelling of the neck lasting more than three weeks
- White spots
- Sore throat or voice changes that last more that six weeks
- Persistent unexplained earache
Who is at Risk?
Mouth cancer has been linked to age. Almost half of all mouth cancers in The UK were diagnosed in people aged 65 and above and more than a quarter of all cancers were in under 55s. Men are twice as likely to develop mouth cancer than women.
Smoking is known to be a leading contributor to oral cancer. Smoking turns the saliva into a deadly cocktail that turns the mouth cells into cancerous cells. Using smokeless tobacco can increase the oral cancer risk.
Heavy drinking can quadruple the risk of mouth cancer. Alcohol helps the absorption of tobacco, people who smoke and drink excessively are 30 times more likely of developing the oral cancer.
A diet short of sufficient fruit and vegetables has been found to increase the risk of oral cancer.
What to do?
There are a couple of simple things you can do to detect early signs of oral cancer:
- Check inside your mouth with a small mirror for any changes in the tissue, such as soreness or white spots. You need to let your dentist know about any changes you have noticed in your mouth, particularly if you smoke and drink excessively
- Have regular dental check ups, even if you have false teeth. Dentists check for sign of oral cancer during check ups. Therefore, they are the first to spot cancer in a patient. If signs of cancer are detected, they can refer the patient to hospital to be seen by a specialist.
We at Surbiton Smile Centre are committed to prevention and do a thorough mouth cancer screening at each check up appointment. Contact our team if you would like to have a check up or are concerned about something you have found in your mouth and would like to have it investigated further by a dentist.