The Mouth Cancer Symptoms to Look Out For

The Mouth Cancer Symptoms to Look Out For

This Mouth Cancer Awareness Month we take a closer look at the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer and what you can do if you’re concerned.

 Mouth cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, yet many of us don’t know what mouth cancer symptoms look like. In fact, it can be difficult to know what constitutes mouth cancer, since there are so many different structures in the area.

 
What is mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer is also known as oral cancer, and is when a tumour develops in part of the mouth. This can be on the tongue, the inside of your cheeks, the roof of your mouth, the lips or the gums. Cancer can also develop on the surrounding structures, such as your salivary glands, tonsils and pharynx.

What are the symptoms of mouth cancer?

 Mouth cancer symptoms can include:

  • White or red patches on the tongue or gums
  • Loose teeth or gums that don’t heal properly after tooth extractions
  • Lumps in the mouth or neck that don’t go away
  • Painful mouth ulcers that don’t go away after a couple of weeks
  • A new lisp or change in the sound of your voice
  • An odd sensation in your mouth, such as numbness or tingling.

If you have any of the above mouth cancer symptoms, see your dentist or GP for a cancer check as soon as possible. Although your symptoms are likely to be unrelated to cancer, if it is mouth cancer then it is better to catch it early.

 

What causes mouth cancer?

 Factors that can increase your risk of mouth cancer include:

  • Smoking and other types of tobacco use such as snuff, chewing tobacco and pipes
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Too much sun exposure on your lips
  • A weakened immune system
  • The human papilloma virus (HPV)

How can I reduce the risk of getting mouth cancer?

While there’s no definitive way of stopping the development of mouth cancer, there are things you can do to reduce the risk, such as:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Reducing your alcohol intake
  • Wearing lip balm containing an SPF
  • Checking your mouth health regularly.
  • Seeing your dentist regularly for a mouth cancer check.

By seeing your dentist for a mouth cancer check you can let them examine all areas of your mouth and feel your glands and neck for any suspicious lumps. When examining you, your dentist will look for any sores or discoloured tissue, and if relevant, take a biopsy. If you’ve been experiencing any mouth cancer symptoms, be sure to mention them to your dentist.

How is mouth cancer treated?

Mouth cancer is treated in a similar fashion to other cancers – surgery to remove any growths followed by radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Are you due an oral health check?

If you are due a dentist’s appointment, you should have an oral health check as part of your examination. If you are worried about potential mouth cancer symptoms, just mention you would like a mouth cancer check and point out any areas of concern. If you’re looking for a dentist in Basingstoke who can perform a mouth cancer check, please contact us today.


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