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Posts tagged “Oral cancer”

The Head and Neck Cancer Foundation urges patients to ask dentists to provide oral cancer checks

The Head and Neck Cancer Foundation is encouraging patients to ask their dentist to include oral cancer checks in routine appointments.

Oral cancer checks should be provided as part of a routine dental check-up, but the HNCF is urging patients to make sure that their dentists are carrying out the assessment as standard. Looking for signs of oral cancer takes less than a minute, and should be included in the price of a regular dental check.

Research conducted by the HNCF in conjunction with YouGov suggested that many patients are unsure whether or not their dentist included oral cancer screening in routine checks. In a survey of patients in Wales, only 50% of adults go to the dentist every 6 months, and more than half said that they weren’t sure if their dentist had carried out an oral cancer check at their last appointment. Patients should be aware of oral cancer checks, as a dentist may say that they’re looking for potential symptoms, and they will also use an instrument to pull the tongue to one side and then the other and to look at the gums and the lips for signs of abnormalities.

CEO of the foundation, Michelle Vickers, said that most of us are unaware of the role dentists play in the early detection of oral cancer, a form of cancer that has become more prevalent in the last decade. Dentists are trained to provide routine oral cancer checks as part of standard check-ups, and those who miss out on appointments could therefore be putting themselves at risk.

To make people more aware of oral cancer and encourage patients to ask their dentist for mouth cancer checks, the HNCF has launched a new campaign called Get Mouthy About Cancer. The idea is simple and involves patients asking their dentist for a routine cancer check. Many people are aware of the signs and symptoms of other types of cancer, but there’s a serious lack of knowledge and awareness linked to mouth cancer, which is resulting in the majority of cases being diagnosed at an advanced stage. Routine checks help to identify changes that could signal oral cancer, increasing the chances of early diagnosis and successful treatment.

New study suggests that just 1 drink a day elevates gum disease and oral cancer risk

shutterstock_533737267A new study has suggested that drinking just one alcoholic drink per day could elevate your risk of developing gum disease, oral cancer and heart disease.

Research conducted by experts at New York University, revealed that people who had at least one drink a day had more harmful oral bacteria than non-drinkers. In addition, drinkers were found to lack healthy strains, which are capable of battling harmful bacteria.

Numerous studies have highlighted the dangers of excessive drinking in the past, but this new study provides an insight into the impact of drinking on the presence of both harmful and healthy bacteria in the mouth.

It is estimated that around 1 in 10 adults in the US are defined as ‘heavy drinkers.’ This term relates to the consumption of 1 or more drinks per day for women and 2 or more drinks for men.

During the trial, researchers analysed oral bacteria levels in 1,000 patients who were participating in national cancer trials. The team asked each person about their alcohol consumption, and the group was divided into three categories: heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers and non-drinkers.

Analysis of samples showed that drinkers had higher levels of harmful bacteria, including Neisseria species, Bacteroidales and Actinomyces and lower levels of Lactobacillales, healthy bacteria, which are commonly found in probiotic foods.

Study author, Jiyoung Ahn, an epidemiologist at the NYU School of Medicine, explained that the study shows that drinking alcohol has a negative impact on the balance of bacteria in the mouth, which could explain why people who drink frequently are more likely to develop conditions such as gum disease and oral cancer.

The team is now planning to develop the research and will be focusing on how alcohol affects the “biological mechanisms” within the mouth.

Men who perform oral sex on women may be more likely to develop oral cancer, new research reveals

shutterstock_310324232New research has revealed that men who perform oral sex on women may be more likely to develop oral cancer.

Researchers in the US claim that men who have performed oral sex on at least 5 female partners are more likely to develop head and neck cancer. The risk is further elevated in those who smoke. A US study of 9,425 people aged between 20 and 59 suggested that men who had more oral sex partners had a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Study participants were tested for HPV (human papilloma virus) and asked about the number of oral sex partners they had.

HPV is a very common virus. In the majority of cases, it doesn’t cause any problems, but certain strains are linked to an increased risk of some forms of cancer, including oral and cervical cancer. The findings of the study show that 6 percent of men and 1 percent of women carried potentially harmful strains of HPV. In men, oral HPV was more prevalent in smokers and those who had a high number of oral sexual partners.

The study authors claim that more research needs to be done find out more about the link between oral sex and oral cancer and stressed that the findings do not “prove causation.” Data analysis suggests that harmful strains of HPV are very rare, with 1 in 500 women and 7 in 1,000 men affected.

The study was carried out by research teams at John Hopkins University and Information Services Inc. The findings have been published in the Annals of Oncology journal.

Could dating apps be fuelling rising rates of oral cancer?


Dentists have issued a warning over the use of dating apps amid concerns over the increased prevalence of HPV, a virus known to increase the risk of several forms of cancer, including oral cancer.

The British Dental Association, along with a number of other health bodies, has already backed a move to expand the HPV vaccine programme to include teenage boys, as well as girls, but this was rejected by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. It is estimated that up to 50 percent of the population will be affected by HPV at some point in their lives. In most cases, HPV doesn’t cause any problems, but certain strains are linked to an elevated risk of some forms of cancer. Cervical cancer is one of these, and this is why the HPV vaccination programme was introduced in British schools. Girls aged 12 and 13 are entitled to the vaccination, but the immunisation is not currently available for boys.

Dentists are worried that the ruling on HPV vaccination for boys is based on data that is no longer accurate, as behaviour has changed and factors, including the rise of dating apps like Tinder, have not been considered by those in charge of making decisions. The British Dental Association believes that information used to make decisions is outdated and there are also accusations that data has been withheld during the consultation process.

Dr Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA, said that it is “shocking” that the vaccine will not be made available to thousands of boys who are at risk of developing certain forms of cancer, including oral cancer, as a result of HPV infection.

The relationship between oral cancer and HPV has been a subject of intrigue, especially since Hollywood actor, Michael Douglas, attributed his own experiences with throat cancer to oral sex.

How Bad is Drinking Alcohol For Your Teeth?

shutterstock_260238491It’s summer, and many of us are busy enjoying garden gatherings and afternoons in the beer garden. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink now and again, but it is important to be aware of the impact of drinking on your teeth and the dangers associated with drinking to excess.

How bad is drinking alcohol for your teeth?

Alcohol itself doesn’t pose much of a risk to your dental health if you drink in moderation. However, the juices and fizzy drinks used as mixers and sweet flavourings added to alcohol can put you at risk of dental decay. Fizzy drinks added to spirits, flavoured ciders and beers and cocktails can all be laden with sugar. In addition, drinks like wine and fruit juices are acidic. Acids are dangerous for the teeth because they weaken the protective enamel covering, increasing the risk of cavities and sensitivity. If you are drinking, use a straw and try and opt for diet versions of mixers, which contain no sugar.

Drinking alcohol is not just a danger to your teeth because of the risk of decay. Alcohol consumption is also one of the main risk factors for oral cancer. Oral cancer is a type of cancer, which has become increasingly common in the UK in the last decade. Drinking is particularly dangerous when combined with smoking. If you’re a smoker and you drink more than the recommended intake of alcohol per week, you are more than 30 times likelier to develop mouth cancer than non-smokers who drink rarely.

If you’re worried about drinking too much or you’d like more information about the impact of alcohol on your oral health, our dental team will be happy to help. Simply give us a call or pop in and see is us if you’re passing.

Dentists back calls for HPV vaccination programme expansion

shutterstock_370574216Research conducted by HPV Action has revealed that the overwhelming majority of dentists support calls for the HPV vaccine to be made available to teenage boys, as well as girls.

According to the charity, 97 percent of dentists polled backed plans to expand the vaccination programme to include 12 and 13-year-old boys. At the moment, HPV vaccines are available to teenage girls. This is due to the link between certain strains of HPV and cervical cancer. There is now a growing body of evidence to suggest an association between the virus and oral cancer, a form of cancer, which has become increasingly common in the last decade.

Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practice, Mick Horton, said that the number of cases of oral cancer diagnosed is the UK has risen “dramatically” in the last ten years, and two-thirds of cases involve men. Introducing the HPV vaccine could help to reduce the risk of oral cancer in young males. There are also plans to launch a pilot scheme for gay men.

The vaccination programme has contributed to a reduction in the prevalence of HPV in young women, and experts are keen to trial the vaccine to determine if it could reduce the number of cases of HPV-related cancers in young males. Currently, figures suggest that over 2,000 men are diagnosed with cancers related to HPV every year and almost 50 percent of patients will die from the disease within five years.

Dentists support calls made by doctors and campaigners to expand the programme and believe that providing the vaccine for boys could help to save numerous lives in the future

Are you aware of the warning signs of oral cancer?

shutterstock_450907531It’s a form of cancer that affects more than 6,000 people in the UK every year, but relatively few people have heard of oral cancer. The latest statistics show that the incidence of oral cancer has increased by more than 60 percent in the last two decades, but do you know the symptoms and warning signs you should be looking out for?

According to Cancer Research UK, the number of cases of mouth cancer has risen by 68 percent in the last twenty years. In that time, survival rates have barely improved. In contrast, survival rates for other types of cancer, such as breast and testicular cancer, have increased significantly. The worry is that people are unaware of the signs and symptoms. You see campaigns about breast and cervical cancer all the time, and people know to look out for changes such as lumps and abnormal bleeding. With oral cancer, there’s very little publicity, and people don’t know the red flag signs they should be looking out for.

Dentists across the country are keen to promote regular routine check-ups in a bid to ensure that more cases of oral cancer are diagnosed at an early stage. When symptoms are detected early, the chance of survival can increase from less than 50 percent to over 90 percent. Dentists are also eager to ensure that more people are aware of the signs and symptoms, which include unexplained oral pain, slow-healing mouth ulcers, a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and red or white patches in the mouth.

The British Dental Association is also calling for HPV vaccination to be made available to males as well as females. At present, the vaccination is given to teenage girls to protect against cervical cancer, which is associated with certain strains of the human papilloma virus. Research has suggested that HPV can also play a role in increasing the risk of oral and oesophageal cancers, and therefore the BDA believes that it would be beneficial to offer the vaccine to both sexes.

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
  • Smoking
  • 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.

Regular Check-Ups Can Increase Your Chance of Finding Mouth Cancer

One of the most important and effective methods of diagnosing oral cancer cases at an early stage is dental checks. Regular dental check-ups allow your dentist to keep tabs on your oral health, as well as giving them the opportunity to look out for changes in the soft tissue in the mouth and warning signs of oral cancer. Like most other forms of cancer, the earlier mouth cancer is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.

What causes oral cancer?

The main risk factors for oral cancer include smoking, drinking alcohol on a regular basis, a poor diet and HPV (human papilloma virus) infection. If you drink and smoke, you’re up to 30 times more likely to develop oral cancer than a non-smoker who only drinks occasionally.

Most cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in men over the age of 40 years old; however, there has been a significant increase in the number of cases reported among younger people and this is believed to be due to HPV exposure and an increase in binge drinking and alcohol consumption.

Why are regular check-ups so important?

When you have a dental check-up, your dentist will out for symptoms of decay and gum disease, such as cavities, swollen and sore gums, but they will also look for potential warning signs of mouth cancer. The earlier these signs are picked up, the earlier they can be investigated and a diagnosis made. Early treatment increases the chances of survival by up to 90 per cent and can literally make the difference between life and death. Currently, the 5 year survival rate is relatively low for oral cancer and this is largely due to the fact that most cases are diagnosed too late.

We encourage all our patients to see their dentist every 6-9 months and to look out for potential symptoms of mouth cancer, such as ulcers that heal very slowly, red or white patches, which appear in the mouth or throat and any abnormal lumps or swelling in the mouth.

The trials and tribulations of Oral Cancer in Central London

Diagnosis oral Cancer: this isn’t the best scenario that you can have laid at your feet in Central London, but if you have been hit with this news, you are going to dust yourself down and get ready for the fight ahead. The causes- who knows? It’s still a bit of a baffling mystery to doctors as to why some suffer from the disease and others don’t when they are doing exactly the same things in life. However, damaging your immune system through a poor diet, smoking and heavy drinking isn’t helping the cause. The early warning signs are things that just haven’t gone away for a few weeks; ulcers, sore throats, swallowing problems or jaw-aches- just a few to mention and you should get yourself checked out as soon as you can. A couple tests will determine quickly if you have the disease and then you will be treated straight away; the faster the better because this gives you the best chance of all to recover. It won’t be easy and you will have to get in a support system from professional nurses like Macmillan, friends and of course family; having such people around you like this will help guide you through this tricky time. Then you need to reflect on just how you got into this horror story in the first place and then turn over a new leaf in your life so it doesn’t happen again.

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