Mouth Cancer Action Month 2019 takes place this November, which means now is the perfect time to discuss and raise awareness of the disease.
Mouth cancer is currently the cause of more deaths per number of cases than breast cancer and cervical cancer. In addition to this, according to the Mouth Cancer Foundation, over 60,000 people will be diagnosed with mouth cancer over the next decade.
Therefore, it is vitally important that you know the causes of mouth cancer, can recognise the many different symptoms and understand what you need to do to prevent the disease.
Tobacco use is still considered to be the main cause of mouth cancer, along with excessive alcohol use and a poor diet.
However, experts have stated that a virus transmitted by oral sex, called the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), could overtake all of the above as the main cause of mouth cancer over the next 10 years.
In addition to this, excessive sun exposure to the lips and age are also notable risk factors, though more young people are now being affected than ever before.
Sadly, there’s no proven way to prevent mouth cancer. Although, there are some simple steps that you can take to reduce your chances of getting the disease.
Firstly, if you use tobacco, whether it be smoked or chewed, you should consider quitting. Tobacco exposes the cells in your mouth to dangerous chemicals that cause mouth cancer.
Secondly, if you choose to drink alcohol, it is best to do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol use disrupts the cells in your mouth and makes them more vulnerable to developing mouth cancer.
Finally, protecting your lips from excessive sun exposure and asking your dentist to check your mouth are other ways that you can prevent the onset of mouth cancer.
Mouth cancers can occur in any part of the mouth, from the tongue to the lips, plus adjacent areas, such as the throat and salivary glands.
Understanding and detecting the most common symptoms of mouth cancer, like sores or ulcers that won’t heal, is your best chance for early diagnosis. Below is a list of the different symptoms of mouth cancer:
The symptoms of mouth cancer are not always easy to spot. So, it is advisable to check your mouth regularly, have a good oral health routine in place and visit a dentist every six months, or as advised.
Dental check-ups make all the difference when it comes to detecting mouth cancer, especially if you use tobacco, drink excessive amounts of alcohol or have a history of gum disease.
Therefore, if you do experience any of the symptoms listed above for more than 3 weeks you should visit your GP immediately.
At Dentalia, we provide professional dental services to both patients and dental professionals.
If you have any concerns regarding mouth cancer, please contact our team to book your appointment with us today.