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Mouth Cancer Action Month - What is Mouth Cancer and how can I spot it?

3rd Nov 2016 Blue Lip Selfie at York Place dental, Carlisle, to promote Mouth Cancer Awareness month!
Mouth Cancer is arguably less discussed than Lung cancer, Breast cancer and some of the more ‘well known’ cancers. The aim of the November Mouth Cancer Action Month campaign is to raise awareness and provide people with information on how to monitor their oral health.

The aim of this blog is to provide you with information on what Mouth Cancer is and how to detect the signs early. Mouth cancer, caught early enough, is highly treatable and as such we urge everyone “if in doubt, get checked out!”

What is Mouth Cancer?

Mouth Cancer is a type of cancer which can affect the lips, cheeks, tongue and throat of the patient. This disease can affect anyone but the highest volume of diagnosis is in the over 40 category. The instances of Mouth Cancer are on the rise with 6, 767 cases being diagnosed within the past year – sadly, over 1,800 people in the UK lose their fight against mouth cancer each year. The tragedy is that many deaths can be prevents IF the cancer is diagnosed and treated early enough. (statistics taken from the official Mouth Cancer Action Month page, http://www.mouthcancer.org)


How do I know if I have Mouth Cancer?

There are a number of risk factors – smoking, alcohol, diet etc – which I will blog about over the next week in greater detail.

Mouth cancer tends to appear in different forms – it could be a painless ulcer which is not healing, it could be a white or red patch in the mouth, abnormal lumps and bumps in the mouth. If you are showing any of these signs and the area has not healed within 3 weeks we strongly recommend you speak to your dentist.

The most important point of contact is your dentist – your dentist examines your mouth and tongue during you examination with a small mirror. This allows the dentist to see places in your mouth which you cannot easily see yourself. If the denstist has any concerns or spots something unusual they will refer you to a consultant in the local hospital. At this stage, the consultant will examine you, and may take a biopsy which is a small sample of cells from the area of concern. The samples will be analysed under a microscope to decide if they are harmful or not. If the samples are cancerous, additional tests will be carried out to determine the best course of treatment for you.

If mouth cancer is caught early enough, the likelihood of a complete cure are strong. This is why it is so important to speak to your dentist or doctor if you have any concern.

In Summary – Be MouthAware!

You should monitor any ulcers, lumps or abnormalities in your mouth. Ultimately, speak to your dentist if you have any concerns. Do not wait until it is too late, “if in doubt, get checked out”!
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Monday, 18 November 2019

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