It sounds extreme to say that a trip to the dentist could save your life, but this really is true when it comes to booking an oral cancer screening test. Oral cancer affects the soft tissue in the mouth and throat and it is becoming increasingly common in the UK. A simple, quick test could make all the difference.
About oral cancer
Oral cancer affects more than 6,000 people in the UK every year and figures are increasing year on year. In the last decade, cases in England have almost doubled, and this trend looks set to continue in the future. The main risk factors for oral cancer include drinking and smoking, and research suggests that if you drink and smoke, you are up to 30 times more likely to develop cancer than a non-smoker who rarely drinks. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of younger people affected by the disease, and experts believe this is down to he increased prevalence of the HPV (human papilloma virus).
Symptoms of oral cancer to look out for include:
- red or white patches in the mouth
- abnormal lumps or swelling (this may make it difficult to swallow)
- slow-healing ulcers or mouth sores
- a persistent sore throat
The benefits of oral cancer screening
Screening is really important because it detects the very early signs of oral cancer that may not become visible to the naked eye for some time. Screening is very quick and it doesn’t hurt. The most important aspect of screening is that it provides the opportunity to treat oral cancer at a very early stage, and early diagnosis increases the risk of survival from around 50 per cent to more than 90 per cent.
If you’d like to book a screening test or you simply want to know more about oral cancer and screening, call us today and we will make an appointment for you.