It's Mouth Cancer Action Month in London!
November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, and the biggest, most effective and important method for diagnosing cases of oral cancer in its early stages is dental check-ups. Regular check-ups enable us to keep on top of your oral hygiene, as well as giving us the chance to look out for abnormalities in the mouth and oral cancer signals. The earlier oral cancer is detected and diagnosed, the better the prognosis.
The causes of oral cancer
The main risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Excessive drinking of alcohol
- HPV (human papilloma virus) infection
- Poor diet
People that drink excessively and smoke are up to 30 times more expected to develop mouth cancer than non-smokers who only drink on occasion.
Most oral cancer cases are found in males over the age of 40. However, there has recently been a considerable increase in cases reported in younger people. This is believed to be because of exposure to HPV, as well as increased consumption of alcohol.
The importance of a regular check-up
When you visit us for a dental check-up, we will look out for signs of gum disease and tooth decay, such as swollen gums and cavities, but we will also be looking for the possible warning signs of oral cancer. The sooner these signs are noticed, the sooner they can be examined and diagnosed. Early treatment can increase the chance of survival but up to 90%, and can mean the distinction between life and death. The current survival rate of 5 years is comparatively low, and this is mainly because most cases are detected too late.
We encourage all our patients in London to visit us every 6-9 months, as well as looking out for impending signs of mouth cancer such as slow-healing ulcers, white or red patches in the throat and/or mouth, and any unusual swelling or lumps in the mouth.