November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, a charity campaign run by the Oral Health Foundation, and 2020 is its 20th anniversary! The aim is to raise awareness of mouth cancer and make a difference by saving thousands of lives through early detection and prevention.
Over the past year, more than 8337 people in the UK were given the life-changing news that they have mouth cancer. This number continues to rise while the disease claims more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined. The more we know about mouth cancer, the better chance we have of beating it. This means knowing how to spot mouth cancer early to get prompt treatment.
Signs to check for mouth cancer
Ulcers that do not heal within three weeks
Red-and-white patches in your mouth
Unusual lumps or swellings in your mouth, head and neck.
Although there are risk factors heavily linked to the disease, such as smoking and drinking, mouth cancer can affect anyone and can affect the lips, tongue, gums and cheek. So it is important to adopt a healthier lifestyle, be aware of the signs above, and maintain regular check-ups with your dentist and see your hygienist regularly.
If in doubt, get checked out!
Early detection is crucial, so if you have noticed any of these signs or anything unusual in your mouth, please tell your dentist or doctor immediately.
Your dentist will check the inside of your mouth and your tongue, and will also look at your neck and underneath your jaw. Dentists will carry out this examination as part of a routine dental check up. Remember, your dental team can see parts of your mouth you cannot see easily yourself.
If mouth cancer is spotted early, the chances of a complete cure are good, and the smaller the area or ulcer the better the chance of a cure. However, too many people come forward too late because they do not have regular mouth examinations, so it is vital these are maintained.
How can I make sure that my mouth stays healthy?
Stop smoking, and cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink.
Eat a balanced, healthy diet with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This can also help protect against many other cancers.
Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.
At Elmsleigh House our dental team check for signs of mouth cancer at your routine check-ups, so it is important to see your dentist and hygienist regularly for your general health as well as your dental health!