Cases of mouth cancer are on the increase in the UK. As with any form of cancer, early detection vastly increases the chances of survival, which is why at Meadowbank Dental Practice we provide mouth cancer screening as standard for all patients during a dental check-up.
Currently, there are about 2,700 from oral cancers in the UK every year. That’s a higher proportion per number of cases than of breast, cervical or skin cancer, and the main reason for this is late detection.
As dentists, we are in a prime position to spot signs of mouth cancer at a very early stage. Often, this may be before you notice any symptoms yourself. Remember, early detection vastly improves your chances of making a full recovery, which is another good reason not to neglect your dental appointments. In most cases we recommend you visit us for a check-up every six months, although some patients may need to see us more frequently, so always follow the advice your dentist gives you. If you notice any potential symptoms of mouth cancer, please book in to see us immediately.
Mouth cancer symptoms include:
- Red or white patches in your mouth or throat
- A lump that may be painless
- Persistent mouth ulcers
- Persistent mouth pain
- Changes in your voice or speech
- Pain/difficulty when swallowing
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Problems moving your jaw
- Unexplained weight loss
Remember that many of these symptoms can have other causes, too, but it’s always best to get anything unusual checked out. If we do find anything suspicious, we will refer you to a hospital consultant straight away for further investigation and treatment as necessary.
Habits such as smoking and excess alcohol consumption can increase the risk of mouth cancer developing, so we always encourage our patients to give up smoking and to be aware of how too much alcohol can affect their health. We provide a smoking cessation service for those who wish to quit or cut down on tobacco, while our hygienist can provide dietary advice including how drinking too much alcohol can affect your oral health.