This November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, a campaign run every year by the Oral Health Foundation to raise awareness of the potentially fatal disease. This has been perhaps the most unusual year many of us have lived through, and the message regarding mouth cancer is more important now than ever.
Early detection greatly increases the chance of survival with mouth cancers, so if you have not been able to attend routine appointments, please try to book one as soon as possible.
In this blog we will be outlining some of the causes of mouth cancer as well as giving you advice on ways to minimise the risk of contracting the disease.
What causes mouth cancer?
Last year in the UK, over 8000 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer, and globally there are over 300,000 cases of this form of cancer per year. Mouth cancer is most common in men over the age of 40, however new research has shown that it is becoming more common in younger patients and women. So, what specifically can cause mouth cancer to form?
The two most common causes of mouth cancer are tobacco and alcohol consumption. The chemicals found in tobacco make it easy for cancerous cells to form, and alcohol dehydrates the cell walls inside your mouth, greatly increasing the chances of cancer cells being created. Furthermore, smoking and drinking at the same time can increase the chances of mouth cancer by 30 times! This happens because alcohol makes the mouth more absorbent, making it much easier for carcinogens to permeate the tissue inside your mouth.
However, although these are the main two causes of mouth cancer, it is still possible for ANYONE to contract the disease, so early detection is essential.
How do I prevent against mouth cancer?
The easiest way to help prevent mouth cancer is to cut down on-or cut out completely-alcohol and cigarettes. However, for some this is easier said than done, so the risk of contracting mouth cancer can also be reduced by practising good oral hygiene, going for regular dental check-ups and keeping a healthy balanced diet.
How can I spot it?
Many cases of mouth cancer are detected at stage 4- when it is just too late to treat it. However, if it is spotted earlier, the chances of successfully treating mouth cancer becomes 9 out of 10! This is why it is so important to know the signs of the disease, so look out for:
- Mouth ulcers which do not heal in three weeks
- Red and white patches in the mouth
- Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth
Mouth Cancer can easily be spotted during a thorough mouth examination, so it’s essential to book an appointment as soon as you notice something out of place in your mouth.
The Oral Health Foundation are promoting the message ‘If in doubt, get checked out,’ so if you notice anything unusual in your mouth, don’t hesitate to book an appointment at the London Holistic Dental Centre by calling 020 7487 5221, as it may save your life!
More information on Mouth Cancer Action Month can be found here: https://www.dentalhealth.org/be-mouthaware