Mouth Cancer Awareness month is held in November every year and is supported by the Mouth Cancer Foundation and the British Health Foundation. As a result of this event, many are now taking the subject seriously which studies now resulted in an increase in early detection of mouth cancer and much higher survival rates – which is really good news!
Though we can say that many may have known about it, there are still some that question, what is Mouth Cancer really anyway? What does it look like and what causes it? Mouth cancer among many people is not very well known about, however it causes more deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer, or melanomas.
Mouth cancer can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat. It is mostly caused by habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption and more common in middle aged and older men, however there are increasing numbers of cases in people who do not fit the traditional profile. It can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into a cancer, as any unusual lumps or swellings.
The Mouth Cancer Foundation is constantly campaigning for early detection and to raise awareness of the risks and signs and symptoms of Mouth Cancer. Dental health professionals are the natural leaders to lead the fight against mouth cancer as follows:
- Warm patients of the dangers of tobacco use, alcohol abuse and the link to HPV.
- Alert Asian patients to the dangers of paan and gutka chewing.
- Carry out a thorough head and neck cancer screening on patients at routine check ups
- Make an effort to increase awareness of mouth cancers and the need for support for head and neck cancer patients.
The chances of survival are greatly improved with early detection and treatment. At Brightside Dental, we carry out mouth cancer screening routinely as part of the assessment we carry out for you.